CSP welcomes new planning requirements for urgent community response services in England

NHS England have announced 2022/23 new planning guidance for urgent community response (UCR) services, which focus on the maintenance and growth of UCR teams and highlight the need for better workforce planning

Physios working in the community

The new plans were outlined by NHS England (NHSE) in a webinar, held earlier this year, and the guidance has been influenced and welcomed by the CSP.

The plans have a clear emphasis on workforce planning, which CSP helped to ensure was included, as CSP professional adviser Rachael Wadlow explains: ‘We highlighted the need for the workforce and capacity of rehabilitation services and other pathways, which two-hour UCR services commonly refer patients onto, to be enhanced and strengthened in anticipation of an increased number of referrals as part of the expansion of two-hour UCR care.

We welcome the drive for better workforce planning, as this reflects our position on the need for UCR services to be suitably staffed rather than adding additional pressures to already stretched longer term rehabilitation pathways, to the detriment of those people most in need of rehabilitation

‘However, 2022/23 workforce plans need to be adequately funded to meet these requirements, and it is currently unclear what impact recent funding cuts to the long-term plan will have on these plans.’

She added that the operational UCR plans for 2022/23 also include funding for virtual ward delivery, with regional support for its set up currently being considered.

New expectations for all systems in England

The implementation of two hour urgent community response services across all systems in England by April 2022 was mandated by NHSE as part of the long-term plan aging well programme.

For some systems, this was a new initiative but for other services which had longstanding urgent response pathways already in place, there was a need to adapt to meet the national guidance for a full geographic rollout, operating 8am – 8pm, seven days a week.

The previous planning phase, which covered 2021/22, focused on setting up services to allow systems to meet the minimum requirements of the UCR guidance by April 2022. 

However, the new guidance lays out expectations for 2022/23 that centre around establishing precise plans for the growth of URC services, particularly in preparation for winter pressures.

As a result, NHS England now expects all systems to clearly outline and report plans for the growth of their URC services.

Additionally, under the new workforce planning requirements set out in the guidance, NHSE will expect system workforce plans to explicitly cover UCR services and know their projected workforce requirements for this year – in order to accurately reflect plans to increase capacity, activity and community flow.

For further information on the new urgent care response guidance, including 2022/23 planning information, accelerator site learning output, national data sets and examples of good practice, please visit the Urgent Community Response workspace on the NHS futures platform

A recording of the NHSE webinar is also available on the NHS Futures platform, along with all the webinar slides.

To view the webinar login in to your NHS Futures account, or request a login to gain access if you don’t have an nhs.net account.

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