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PM targets unnecessary hospital stays

The Prime Minister, Theresa May has pledged to ensure more NHS patients will be cared for at home and in their community rather than unnecessary or over-long stays in hospital. 


Proposals include community-based rapid response teams and dedicated support for care home residents. The initiative aims to provide the support that is often lacking at the moment to allow people to be treated and/or recover in their own home.


The 24/7 rapid response teams are made up of doctors, nurses and physiotherapists and will provide urgent care and support in the community as an alternative to hospital. This includes emergency treatment as well as support to help patients recover closer to home, which will help people stay healthy and independent for longer.


The Prime Minister also promised 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.


Theresa May says: “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 also suggests that over a third of hospital admissions from care homes are avoidable.”


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.


Health Secretary Matt Hancock says: “This additional funding of £3.5 billion a year by 2023/24 demonstrates our commitment to primary and community healthcare, capable of relieving the burden on our hospitals over the coming years and revolutionising the way high-quality care is delivered for our most vulnerable patients.”


Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, adds: “Everyone can see that to future-proof the NHS we need to radically redesign how primary and community health services work together. For community health services this means quick response to help people who don’t need to be in hospital, as well as dissolving the 70-year old boundary between GP practices and community nursing.”