The Neighbourhood Network schemes in Leeds have an enviable reputation. The first was established in 1985 and it’s clear the city is getting a return for its foresight and investment over the years. Mick Ward, a Social Care Commissioner with Leeds City Council, told the following story yesterday at an ippr event in London. I was struck by it partly because I’ve recently been writing about the interdependence of informal and formal care (this used to be called ‘interweaving’).
It had been noticed that an elderly resident was putting in frequent appearances at A&E in a very distressed, highly agitated state, usually in the evening. A volunteer from the local scheme went to visit her for a chat. As they made a cuppa in the kitchen, the volunteer noticed accumulated cans of Red Bull. It became apparent that the patient had a habit of getting through up to 14 tubes of the stuff in a day – hence the trips to the hospital. Mick observed drily that the £1.40 bus fare expenses claimed by the volunteer to help resolve the issue compared favourably with the cost of the fourteen visits to A&E.