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Making waves: nurse-led urgent community response

02 January 2022
Volume 27 · Issue 1


Anyone in England over 18 whose health or wellbeing suddenly deteriorates at home will have access to an urgent community response (UCR) team within 2 hours by April 2022. Community nursing services are providing the core service model to provide these crisis response services. Nurse leads from three UCR accelerator sites (Kirklees, Warrington and Bromley) elaborate on how they are making waves of change for the better, using their clinical skills and building key relationships with other health services. Acutely unwell patients are being seen by practitioners with advanced assessment skills, which keeps eight out of 10 patients at home safe, avoiding hospital admission.

By April 2022, anyone in England over 18 years of age whose health or wellbeing suddenly deteriorates at home will have access to an urgent community response team within 2 hours. At a minimum, those services are expected to operate 12 hours a day, typically between 8am–8pm, 7 days a week.

Urgent community response (UCR) teams may not be particularly new, but it is the first time that the NHS has adopted a national standard for community healthcare in its history. Accelerating the rollout of UCR was triggered by NHS England's Long-Term Plan (2019), which committed to increase investment in primary medical and community services by £4.5 billion in real terms by 2023/24. It stated: ‘Extra investment and productivity reforms in community health services will mean that, within 5 years, all parts of the country will be expected to have improved the responsiveness of community health crisis response services to deliver the services within 2 hours of referral.’

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