Call for local out-of-hours helpline answered by Holbeck Elderly Aid and NHS
Holbeck Elderly Aid (HEA), a South Leeds charity supporting vulnerable older people in the community has received a Third Sector Health Grant from NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to the value of over £46,000. The vital funds will be used to implement a programme of strategic support initiatives to cater for the most deprived and socially isolated people in the city. The grant is part of a £1million NHS CCG Third Sector Health Grants programme, managed by Leeds Community Foundation to enable local people to live healthier lives.
An area identified by HEA in need of some serious attention is the demand for an out-of-hours phone line – an easy to use service which bridges the gap between those at their most vulnerable and the services NHS provides. The ‘We HEAr You’ helpline will offer one-to-one support, whilst working to reduce the number of potentially unnecessary calls to the ambulance services, NHS Direct and other services as it will give those in need an opportunity to confide and build a relationship with someone who is local and there solely to listen and offer support. Callers who require medical attention will be signposted to medical professionals.
The service will be in operation Monday-Friday 5pm-9pm and Saturday-Sunday 9am-8pm and has been launched ahead of the winter months, which have been identified as the most challenging and depressing for those who feel socially isolated or vulnerable.
In addition to the helpline, HEA has also introduced a weekly Health & Wellbeing Clinic held at St Matthews Community Centre in Holbeck. HEA has elicited the help of health professionals including Carers Leeds to support the delivery of health and wellbeing topics, including nutrition, weight loss and staying active, health screening and more. This initiative is designed to help people get the support they need to encourage a lifestyle change and help to manage long-term health conditions – all of which will help to reduce admissions and re-admissions to hospital.
Speaking on behalf of HEA, Chief Officer, Elissa Newman said:
“Understanding the needs of our service users and the older people in the wider community in South Leeds is our number one priority. Insights into the circumstances of those people who are vulnerable and feel socially isolated has given us access to understand why calls are made to request NHS services which we know could be avoided. This presents a huge opportunity for us to lower these call outs via the ‘We HEAr You’ helpline and the weekly Health & Wellbeing Clinics and provide a direct level of support in the community.”
Andy Harris, Clinical Chief Officer of NGS Leeds South and East CCG and a GP in East Leeds, said:
“We have ambitious plans to transform the health of people in the South and East of Leeds. We are delighted to be able to support projects that are truly making a difference to provide valuable and useful services to improve the wellbeing of local people.”
The confidential “We HEAr You” helpline can be reached on (0113) 244 4742.