An NHS clinical commission group in Essex is concerned that the decision to decommission a fall prevention service which offers advice and makes home adaptations will result in danger to elderly people and more hospital admissions.
Essex County Council is due to scrap the service in June and now North East Essex CCG has stated in a report that the decision “poses a significant risk to patient safety”.
The CCG said it is undertaking workshops to assess the potential impact of decommissioning the service as well as evaluating the current falls prevention services provided by various partners in the area.
Health bosses also said the decision poses a financial risk to the CCG due to a projected increase in hospital admissions from an expected rise in falls.
Some local groups have also criticised the decision with one reportedly saying the cost of the falls prevention service is cheaper than a hospital admission and that the “shortsighted cuts” will result in more people being injured.
The falls prevention scheme has been in place since 2014 but John Spence, ECC cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care, said it did not “realise its potential in prevention”, and that the council will now use a less formal falls prevention programme.
He told the East Anglian Daily Times: “This new way forward will continue to assist the county’s most vulnerable people through partnership working and focussing our resources on more effective services like the prevention of strokes, depression in older people and loneliness/isolation along with the encouragement of physical activity. All of which are contributing factors in falls.”