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Less Pressure For Hospitals And More Support For The Vulnerable In New NHS Plans

Community Care For The Vulnerable Could Be Improved Significantly Under New NHS Plans


New plans for the NHS aim to ease the amount of pressure hospitals and medical staff face, while also providing improved care for some of society's most vulnerable patients.

As part of the government's Better Care Fund, new ideas have been announced to give greater support to the elderly and those with long-term illnesses in their community, rather than at hospitals.

The £5.3 billion Better Care Fund aims to join NHS and council-run care services together, meaning there would be less confusion about where support is coming from and exactly what patients are entitled to.

Joining forces would allow different teams of medical staff, such as nurses and physiotherapists, to make themselves available to tend to patients in their own homes seven days a week.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt commented: "For years, successive governments and NHS leaders have talked about joining up our health and care services so people get better care at the right time and in the right place.

"The time for talk is over - our plans will make this vision a reality for patients and help deliver a sustainable future for the NHS."

It is hoped that these new measures will lead to 101,000 fewer delayed discharges from hospital, as well as significantly reducing the number of people who have to stay in accident and emergency departments, possibly by around 163,000.

In addition, it should mean an extra 2,000 elderly people can be cared for in their own homes, not only potentially improving their wellbeing, but also saving the NHS some much-needed money.

This news coincides with the release of the King's Fund's latest monitoring report, which covers the three months from June to September this year.

It shows that five per cent of patients had to wait for four or more hours in A&E during this period, which is the highest number facing lengthy delays in the summer months for over ten years.

Furthermore, the quarter saw waiting times for routine procedures, such as joint replacement operations, climb to their highest level since 2008 - some 12.1 per cent of patients had to wait for at least 18 weeks for their surgery, meaning they were potentially left in prolonged discomfort.

Expert Opinion
The new plans outlined by the NHS, which will improve the standard of care received by vulnerable patients, are welcome. For too long the elderly and those with long-term illnesses have been unable to access the help and support they need and the new measures will ensure this area is improved dramatically.

“In our work we have seen first-hand the devastating impact neglect and poor standards of care can have on vulnerable patients. For these individuals, being able to be treated in their own homes, rather than at a hospital can play a critical role in their chances of recovery and rehabilitation. It is vital that these new processes are implemented as quickly as possible and patients, as well as overstretched hospital staff, start seeing the benefit of the proposals.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner

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