More than £9 million is being invested over the next five years in adult community care services to support and care for patients closer to home in the Guilford and Waverley area. It will help support patients to have care and remain at home, avoiding the need for unnecessary admissions to hospital and also making sure they can be helped to return home after any appropriate hospital stay.

There will be an enhanced role for local community hospitals to allow provision for older people living with frailty to be rehabilitated following serious illness.

Over time the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust will work towards direct admission into community wards to allow care to be delivered closer to home and prevent the need for patients to be taken to the acute hospital.

It will see the recruitment of additional multidisciplinary staff and will also include the creation of a proactive care hub supported by GPs and Geriatricians. As part of phase one of the mobilization plan this hub will be co-located with the community hospital beds at Milford. The hub will be supported by a dedicated Geriatrician, GP Specialists and an advanced care practitioner.

The investment in a new out of hospital care model over five years from Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the biggest in recent years. It will be reviewed annually and is dependent on the continuing strong financial performance of the Trust, its cost saving programme and national priorities.

It comes as the hospital has seen more than double the national average increase in demand in urgent and emergency care services.

Louise Stead, the Chief Executive at the Trust, said: “This is one of the most significant investments the Trust has made in recent years. These plans have been developed by clinicians and are the centrepiece initiative in the newly forming Guildford Waverley Integrated Care Partnership, a partnership across the health, and social care and voluntary sectors including GP colleagues at Procare.

“The success of this work will mean not only improved care in the community but it will also help to keep hospital beds free for those who need the specialist help of our dedicated teams.”

Older people with frailty are already identified and managed by a specialist frailty team working in the Emergency Department at Royal Surrey County Hospital. The Trust is working towards establishing a seven day service and to link much more closely with community hospitals which will see bed numbers return to around 50.