We contend that it would be cheaper to increase support for some 999 service users if the result is better engagement with mainstream health services and less reliance on emergency care. This is because an appointment with a GP is about a fifth of the price of going to A+E for the same treatment. Very easy to describe our ambition. Very complex to fulfil it. First step: Identify the people who may be high cost. The 999 Club had set up an inter-agency meeting where we could identify some members for whom we could cost their service use. Open-access centres like the 999 Club are the eyes and ears of public services, identifying new trends in needs and social issues years before they make it to a health or social care white paper. If you want to know what the social exclusion issues of our time are, the members and staff at the 999 club can tell you. The focus of our research – which is part of our role in the Connecting Policy with Practice programme with the Big Lottery Fund and IfG – is to translate what we find at 999 into wider lessons for national policy makers. […]

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