An advice telephone line for health and social workers in Wiltshire has led to the majority of patients being treated at home rather than going into hospital.

The line, run by Wiltshire Medical Services, part of the Medvivo group, was set up earlier this month.

It received 24 referrals from GPs, paramedics, social workers and telecare companies seeking advice and help to look after high risk and vulnerable patients in the first three weeks.

Of the 24 referrals made, 22 patients were able to be treated without the need to go into hospital.

As the average cost of an emergency admission to hospital is £4,000, this has saved Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) £88,000.

The advice line is being operating as a trial project and fits in with the CCG’s community transformation project, which aims of moving care away from hospitals and care homes and to providing the required care as close to home as possible.

The CCG’s governing body was told at a meeting recently that extra staff were being recruited to bolster the urgent care health system.

Last winter, the Royal United Hospital in Bath was put under severe pressure due to an high number of emergency admissions.

CCG officer Jo Cullen told the governing body meeting that extra consultants had now been recruited.

They will join the Royal United Hospital’s emergency department and the medical assessment and surgical assessment units, in order to meet the demands of seven-day working patterns.

Additional funding is also being made available to increase the number of GPs working at weekends in the county.

In total, the CCG is spending a total of £13.5 million on urgent care services this year, the meeting was told.