ALMOST half of the people who suffered a fall at home over the past year were not taken to hospital, ambulance service statistics have revealed.

Instead they were treated by a specialist team set up to deal with such accidents.

The ambulance service said the move had helped ‘ease pressure on hospitals’.

Figures released by South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) showed 11,166 out of 66,777 Oxfordshire call-outs were to people who had suffered a fall.

But instead of taking them to hospital, the service referred 47 per cent to a specialist falls team.

Pre-hospital care practitioner Mark Ainsworth-Smith said: “Patients fall for a variety of reasons.

“Our highly trained ambulance staff are now carefully assessing falls cases on an individual basis to decide whether patients require hospital admission or not.

“Those that are not admitted to hospital are now routinely referred to Specialist Falls Teams.

“The teams are experts at preventing patients from falling again, which hugely benefits patients.”

The teams provide advice to patients in their own homes on how to reduce the risk of falls.

Specialists also give advice on posture and balance.

Mr Ainsworth-Smith added: “Patients often receive a thorough medical examination or are given advice on maintaining posture and balance.

“Such advice helps patients to prevent themselves from falling and, if things do go wrong, to pick themselves up, or call for help.

“Exercise classes and assessment clinics are also available in most areas.”

SCAS said schemes such as the falls service helped keep people being unnecessarily admitted to hospital in the first place.

Oxfordshire ranks the worst out of all local authorities for bed-blocking – or so-called delayed transfer of care.

Bed-blocking occurs when a person is admitted to hospital but stays there long after they are deemed physically well enough to leave, because their next stage of care is not prepared.

Figures from the Department of Health for March show patients still spent 6,332 days stuck in hospital beds.

At the height of the problem – in October – there were 6,335.

Updated statistics for April – the most recent available – show a slight drop, but still a high level at 5,775 days.