Column: Borough’s top GP on Barking and Dagenham’s new service for falls victims

Dr Waseem Mohi, chairman of Barking and Dagenham CCG and a GP at the Markyate Practice in Dagenham

Dr Waseem Mohi, chairman of Barking and Dagenham CCG and a GP at the Markyate Practice in Dagenham - Credit: Archant

Falling – particularly for older people – can be a really frightening ordeal.

The pain from the fall is bad enough, but the loss of independence from a stressful visit to A&E followed by a stay in hospital often has the biggest impact in the long term – that’s certainly the case for many of my patients.

To help, the NHS is trialling a new service in the borough that will see nurses from North East London NHS Foundation Trust’s (NELFT) community treatment team (CTT) join London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics in their rapid response cars as they respond to 999 calls for falls.

The idea here is to give patients the best of both worlds. Paramedics, who are experts in emergency care, can stabilise patients and take them to A&E if needed. At the same time, they will be backed up by CTT nurses who can support people at home, again, if needed.

The nurses can also link patients up with the rest of their team made up of doctors, physiotherapists, occupational health and social services so they are supported fully at home to get back on their feet.

We’re awaiting the results of this trial with interest as it’s exactly the sort of idea – joined-up services for needy and frail people – we, as GPs responsible for most local health services, want to see more of.

With winter almost upon us, you can also help yourself stay healthy. If you are over 65, pregnant, have an underlying health issue such as heart disease or have a weakened immune system then please get a flu jab. It is really important because, if people at risk don’t have the jab, they could develop very serious complications such as pneumonia.

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Flu jabs are free and available from GP surgeries and pharmacies. Your GP surgery should be getting in touch with you if you qualify for the jab but you can always phone if you want to make sure.