Nearly 40 people attended the 69th AGM of Milford Hospital League of Friends. Chairman Mrs Julie Badham welcomed everyone and reported on a year of successful events raising funds for the medical needs of those in Milford and surrounding area. The leg ulcer clinic (centre of excellence) and medical centre benefited from the generous fund-raising of the league. The light exercise classes, and bathing, continued to offer much appreciated service to the community and the chairman thanked all volunteers for their hard work.
Regular meetings had been held with representatives of West Hants Clinical Commissioning Group and there would be public consultation on any proposals for the future of the hospital.
Main project of the year had been the purchase of equipment for the new Frailty Service Vehicle. The league had provided the necessary £16,000 and the chairman then introduced guest speaker Ms Bernie White, and Southern Health Frailty Practitioner Alison Linsley. Bernie is clinical commissioning manger in West Hants Clinical Commissioning Group and Alison is a registered nurse in acute medicine.
The Frailty Service was started in 2016 as a pilot scheme to offer supportive primary care for older people focused on home triage and treatment, with local hospital admission if needed. The aim was to put patients on the road to recovery without the disruption of admission to far distant acute hospitals.
Specialist community support vehicles were provided, and are now based in 3 locations: Fordingbridge for the Avon Valley area; Hythe, and Lymington for the New Forest. Six members of South Central Ambulance Service were seconded to the scheme, and in the case of Milford and the surrounding area, Milford Hospital League of Friends provided £16,000 to equip the vehicle with oxygen, ECG kit, observation kit, blood testing equipment and other items.
Quick treatment and swift social re-enablement are key: 2 weeks of clinical input, and 6 weeks of support can produce good results for the patient and avoid “pyjama paralysis”.
Referrals, 12-14 daily, come from GPs; the Frailty Team responds quickly and carries out clinical assessment at the patient’s home. The Team also visits Care Homes and can give guidance to their staff. Team members have a range of training, some in mental health care, occupational and physiotherapy, alongside “ambulance” skills.
At present there is no national training programme for this service, and IT incompatibilities cause problems that have yet to be resolved. Where there is a rise in the level of serious conditions, those would be beyond the remit of this service. However, studies of the scheme show that “999” calls have dropped, “conveyance to hospital” has been reduced, and patients have been able to stay at, or near, home.
Southern Health has won the team gold award for their work and is shortlisted for the national award.
The afternoon ended with the chairman thanking Bernie and Alison for their presentation, and announcing that there will soon be the formal public handover of the league’s donation of £16,000 for the equipment in the Frailty Service Vehicle.