A KEY service to help patients receive vital physiotherapy at home and ease demand on hospitals has been given long-term funding by the Swindon Clinical Care Group.

The Prospect Hospice’s therapy team has been rewarded for its positive leading of a winter-long pilot scheme with permanent cash to provide the service throughout the year.

The team, which brings occupational and physiotherapy to local patients living with life-limiting conditions, has welcomed the news and says it will allow it to help hundreds of people in Swindon and the surrounding area.

Patient services director Debbie Ho said: “We are very pleased that Swindon CCG has chosen to continue funding this important component of our care, which makes such a difference to patients who return to their homes.

“It demonstrates the range of the care that we provide for patients and families when they seek our support in times of difficulty.”

During the course of the pilot project the six-strong team was able to treat 120 people, easing pressure on hospitals.

It also operated in such an efficient way it was able to see more than 90 per cent of patients at their home on the day they were referred.

Although the service existed to an extent previously, the funding for the pilot meant it could both increase the service – and extend it to seven days a week. As a result it has been able to support more people, especially during the weekend and following discharge from hospital to their home.

It is because of this high rate of success that Swindon CCG has decided to increase the funding on a permanent basis.

CCG executive nurse Gill May said: “NHS Swindon CCG recognises the importance of access to therapy services.

“Prospect Hospice was able to demonstrate clear improvements to the experience of our patients, allowing them to stay in their own homes and manage their condition at home. Therefore we have agreed continued funding.

“The service will provide rapid response to people at home with rapidly changing needs and is a clear example of how seven-day working in the NHS can deliver real improvement to the quality of care delivered.

“We hope that this service will help to prevent unnecessary admissions to hospital and sustain the person coping at home.”

The pilot project was seen as a key way of easing significant problems at the Great Western Hospital during the winter.

Demand was incredibly high, which meant that at one point all non-emergency operations were cancelled.

With patients instead getting treatment in their own home, it means they do not have to go to the hospital, thereby easing the problem.