THE highly-successful Bluebird Care JET (joint emergency team) service is being expanded to cover the whole of Alton after successfully operating over the past 10 months from Mansfield Park Surgery in Medstead and the Alresford Surgery.

With an office in Alton, the care provider will launch its rapid response JET service from the Boundaries Surgery at Four Marks, Chawton Park Surgery and The Wilson Practice at Alton Health Centre, as well as Bentley Village Surgery, to help reduce unnecessary admissions to both Alton Community Hospital and North Hampshire Hospital at Basingstoke.

GPs, district nurses and community care teams refer patients with acute illnesses to the Bluebird Care JET service who then assess the patient within a few hours and immediately put in place emergency care in their own home.

According to Norman Murphy, owner and managing director of Bluebird Care, both hospitals are “currently experiencing major issues with admissions of elderly and vulnerable people who don’t have a support network at home and are admitted with illnesses brought about by the cold weather”.

He said: “To date, the Bluebird Care JET service has successfully kept more than 350 people out of hospital in Alresford, Winchester, Eastleigh and Andover by preventing unnecessary hospital admissions which vitally frees up beds and hospital staff, and it is hoped to do the same for Alton.”

The Bluebird Care JET Service also claims to have achieved “massive savings” for the NHS, with the average UK hospital admission costing £1,800 per patient.

Mr Murphy added: “We really commend the NHS North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group for looking at new and innovative ways to relieve the intense pressure currently placed on our NHS hospitals by looking at how people can be treated in the community. Providing care in people’s own homes has not only benefitted local hospitals by freeing up beds, it has also been hugely beneficial to patients.

“The large increase of hospital admissions during the winter months has meant it’s been crucial to keep as many free beds as possible for those that urgently need them the most and Bluebird Care take great pride in helping the NHS in such a valuable way.”

Philip Heiden, director at Mid-Hampshire Healthcare, said: “It has long been known that with correct community social care support, thousands of people that are unnecessarily admitted to hospital can be cared for just as well, if not better, in their own homes and Bluebird Care were the perfect partner to deliver this.”

Bluebird Care’s headquarters are on Charles Street in Petersfield.