Moorlands MP, Karen Bradley has welcomed today’s announcement that more NHS patients will be cared for at home and in their community to avoid them going into or staying in hospital unnecessarily.
The Prime Minister set out a major new investment in primary and community healthcare – worth £3.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023/4 – which builds on the existing NHS budget for these services.
This represents a historic commitment to ensure a growing share of overall NHS spending for primary medical and community healthcare.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Too often people end up in hospital not because it’s the best place to meet their needs but because the support that would allow them to be treated or recover in their own home just isn’t available.
“Many of us might assume that hospital is the safest place to be – but in reality many patients would be much better off being cared for in the community.
“And the longer a patient stays in hospital the more it costs the NHS and the more pressure is put on its hardworking staff. This needs to change.
“That’s why I’m announcing a major boost in funding for community healthcare, which will give more patients a genuine and high-quality alternative to hospital.
“The new approach we’re setting out today will mean more people can leave hospital quicker, or avoid being admitted in the first place – which is better for patients and better for the health service.
“Leaving the EU means taking back control of our money as we will no longer be sending vast sums to Brussels. This helps our public finances and means we have more money to spend on domestic priorities like our NHS. And we’ve been able to fully fund this historic commitment without raising taxes.”
As many as a third of people in hospital stay longer than they need to, often because they can’t get treatment close to home.
As well as the pressure it puts on the health service, staying in hospital can be bad for patients’ health. The evidence shows that for older people, ten days in a hospital bed leads to the equivalent of ten years of muscle ageing – risking their health and reducing their independence.
Analysis suggests that over a third of hospital admissions from care homes are avoidable.
The Prime Minister has set out a further measure today that will help care home residents get more personalised, convenient and timely care where they live.
She announced the national roll-out of a successful pilot that sees healthcare professionals assigned to care homes where they get to know individual residents’ needs and can provide tailored treatment and support. The teams include pharmacists and GPs who can also offer emergency care out of hours.
Offering an alternative to hospital and caring for people at home instead is better for patients and the health service. Community healthcare can improve patients’ health, reduce costs for the NHS, ease pressure on staff, free up much-needed beds and help cut waiting times by allowing hospitals to focus their resources where they are needed most – such as elective surgery.