NHS England issues final guidance on two-hour crisis response standard for community health services

NHS England and Improvement has issued final guidance on the two-hour crisis response standard for integrated care systems, commissioners and providers of community health services.


A two-hour response is typically required when a person is at risk of admission (or re-admission) to hospital due to an unexpected crisis that would result in inpatient care without rapid intervention in their own home.

Whilst the CSP is aware that many community teams have been successfully providing crisis response services for some time, it is now mandated that all systems in England must implement the minimum two-hour crisis response standards by March 2022.  

This final guidance is key to assisting services to establish new pathways by outlining national and operational requirements, delivery and design principles and clinical requirements.

It is available to view on a new open-access platform.

An opportunity for physiotherapists to lead the way

The final guidance was published on 16 July 2021 and was developed in collaboration with a range of key stakeholders, including the CSP.

CSP professional advisor Rachael Wadlow said: ‘Members of our policy and practice teams contributed to the guidance to ensure physiotherapists were represented in the document.

We believe this is another opportunity for the physiotherapy workforce to lead, and be involved in, driving community services forwards in integrated care systems

The new guidance stipulates that services in England will be required to:

  • provide a minimal provision of 8am-8pm coverage seven days a week across their full geographic area
  • accept services from all appropriate sources
  • complete data returns to the community data set, in order to demonstrate their achievement of the two-hour standard.

Ms Wadlow added that: ‘Services that are new to delivering urgent response standards can learn a lot from more established providers and I would encourage peer to peer learning and sharing of experiences via iCSP and the future NHS Platform.’

CSP will continue to provide feedback on implementation of the guidance through the NHS England and Improvement's professional reference group.

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