One in four patients should not be in hospital

Political and healthcare leaders must in 2012 persuade the public to let go of the hospital-or-bust model of care, says the NHS Confederation.

At least one in four patients would be better off out of hospital.

Mike Farrar of the NHS Confederation says the NHS must convince people to let go of the outdated hospital-or-bust model of care. It must shift resources into community-based services, early intervention and self-care,  “We have had a lot of talk about changing services but 2012 must be the year we convert talk into action. We should be concentrating on reducing hospital stays where this is right for patients, shifting resources into community services, raising standards of general practice, and promoting early intervention and self-care. There is a value-for-money argument for doing this, but it not just about money and the public needs to be told that. This is about building an NHS for the future. Care would be better for frail patients who would have fewer crises, shorter hospital stays when they need them, and more time in the comfort and safety of their homes. There would be opportunities to improve safety through consolidation of specialist services. There would be major potential to deliver better value for money and keep the NHS on a sustainable footing. We all know that quality of care will fall victim to a financial crisis.”

Four factors would help bring about change:

  • Strong political leadership – politicians have failed to support the NHS even when the case for change has been clear
  • Strong medical leadership – the voice of doctors will be more powerful than ever under the new system but they must not be set up to fail through lack of support
  • Change how health services are paid for – perverse incentives often mean it may not make financial sense to provide care out of hospital even though this may be best for patients
  • Listen to the public  –  NHS must always listen and be prepared to change course when it is getting something wrong.
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One in four patients should not be in hospital
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