Our Rapid Response Service is helping to reduce hospital admissions in Northern Ireland

by Joan McEwan
Head of Policy & Public Affairs, Northern Ireland

Marie Curie Nurse Sandra Fulton with Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA
Marie Curie Nurse Sandra Fulton with Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA

Significant investment in the Marie Curie Rapid Response Service in Northern Ireland has led to more people being able to access the service and helped reduce hospital admissions.

Marie Curie, the Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency have invested £300,000 in the Rapid Response Service, which provides flexible and responsive nursing care at short notice to patients living with a terminal illness.

As a result of this investment, more than 600 calls and home visits have been made to people with a terminal illness during the first three months of 2015. The service is also helping to reduce the need for the people it reaches to be admitted to hospital.

How the service works

Delivered by Marie Curie Nurses, working in partnership with the local GP Out of Hours, the service provides prompt and timely response to calls for care and assistance, telephone advice to families and patients who may not need a home visit, and urgent at home care to patients.

The service operates on an out of hours basis, seven days a week, providing cover during evenings, and on a 24/7 basis at weekends and bank holidays in the Southern and Northern Trust areas.  The initiative is also being rolled out as a 12-month pilot to the northern sector of the Western Trust.

"Working in partnership"

The service has been in operation since 1 January but was officially launched today. Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA attended the lauch and said, “I am very pleased to support Marie Curie’s Rapid Response Service.  This is an excellent example of how, through working in partnership, more people can be supported to be cared for at home at the end of life.  The Rapid Response Service not only provides access to high-quality care and advice for people with terminal illness, but also affords peace of mind for families and carers at a difficult and stressful time.”

Paula Heneghan, Regional Manager, Marie Curie Nursing Service said, “Our new pilot service will not only provide those living with a terminal illness greater access to Marie Curie services, but will also help extend the existing GP Out of Hours service in key areas across Northern Ireland.

“We know from research that people with a terminal illness prefer to be treated away from hospital, and where possible, in their own homes.  The Marie Curie Rapid Response Service allows us to meet this need head-on, ensuring patients receive care where they want it and when they need it.”

Marie Curie Rapid Response is a tried and tested service which has been running successfully in the evenings, on a week day basis in the Southern and Northern Trust areas since 2008. Visit our website to read more about our services in Northern Ireland.