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High intensity users team to be hosted by county council

22 March 2024

An agreement has been reached whereby Cambridgeshire County Council will host the High Intensity Users (HIU) team on behalf of the Integrated Care Board (ICB).

High intensity users, in this context, are people who frequently present themselves at hospital Accident and Emergency departments. These individuals often have complex - but not necessarily exclusively medical - needs, which cannot be met by the emergency departments.

Last year, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care Board spent an estimated £28m of NHS funding on emergency care for the 4,500 people attending emergency departments 5-10 times per year - an average of £6,200 per person.

Early identification of high intensity users of services has shown to reduce avoidable Accident and Emergency attendances and non-elective admissions by at least 40% within the NHS.

By hosting the HIU Operational Team, the county council will help to ensure that people receive a more targeted and personalised approach to their care and support.

In October 2023, the council’s Communities service submitted an expression of interest to host the HIU Operational Team. The application highlighted how hosting the team would complement the work already taking place locally alongside the Integrated Neighbourhood Teams, and support the Council’s approach to decentralisation, bringing support closer to communities.

The council was subsequently chosen to host the team. During the 18-month pilot, the team will contribute to an external evaluation process that will help to determine the future of the work.

However, to enable recruitment of the team to take place and the work to begin, the council needs to agree to receive funding from the ICB.

The council’s Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee has therefore agreed to authorise the request to receive funding of £900,000 to host the team for a period of 18 months.

Cllr Tom Sanderson, Chair of the Communities, Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee said: “Choosing the Communities service to host this important team further underlines the quality of what we are offering and the ICB’s confidence in our ability to host the team on behalf of the wider system. Our approach will be to focus on an individual’s concerns, building a personalised plan with them, and working with wider partners to use all the collective services, assets and resources in a more proactive way.”

John Rooke, Managing Director of Cambridgeshire North Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Care Partnership, part of the ICS, said: “We’re looking forward to working with Cambridgeshire County Council to support the health and wellbeing of people who frequently attend A&E in our area.

“By offering personalised support and care to people who have high intensity use of A&E, we will be able to help them stay well at home, close to their support networks and avoid the need for a hospital visit where possible.”