Innovative New Service Slashes Waiting Times

Posted by: Press Team on 08 December 2023 10:16

A service which helps people live independently in their own homes has massively slashed waiting lists for people waiting for occupational therapy.

The See and Solve service has been instrumental in reducing the number of people waiting to see an occupational therapist from almost 500 to 55 and cutting waiting times from eight months to eight weeks.

The service was this week given a Commendation of Excellence in the Outstanding Achievement of the Year category at the National Healthy Housing Awards 2023.

The See and Solve service involves a trained assessor going out to visit people who may need help to live safe and independently in their home. They take basic equipment such as grab rails and bathing equipment and install them on the same day. Previously, people had to wait a number of weeks for this support.

Since this innovative service was first introduced, it has been expanded to include items such as ramps and stairlifts. Although these items are not fitted by the Council, a 'trusted assessment' is carried out by the assessor which significantly speeds up the process.

One woman who has had a stairlift fitted recently is 92-year-old Audrey Gutteridge from Hebburn.

Mrs Audrey Gutteridge
Mrs Audrey Gutteridge

Mrs Gutteridge contacted the Council after she started having difficulties climbing the stairs. Following a visit from an assessor, a stair lift was installed just six weeks later. Before the introduction of See & Solve, this would have taken up to six months due to the unprecedented demand for occupational therapy following the pandemic.  

Mrs Gutteridge said: "The service I received was excellent, I'm pleased with everything.  The stairlift is a boon for me, it has made my life so much easier."

The service is further evidence that the Council is delivering on its ambition to keep people healthy and well throughout their lives.

Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for Adults, Health and Independence, said: "People have told us that they want to live well in their own homes for as long as possible so I'm delighted that this service is enabling them to do exactly that.

 "It is sometimes the simplest ideas that can have the biggest impact for the individual. I am thrilled to see that waiting lists have been cut so dramatically, enabling us to help more people so much more quickly. For those caring for family and friends, it makes a huge difference to them also, as it takes away their anxiety and makes their lives easier too.

 "I am delighted that the service has been recognised at a national level for the difference it is making to the lives of our residents."





Last modified: 01 March 2024 16:12