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King's Fund report into community care - reaction

The King's Fund report argues that community-based healthcare holds the key to the future of the NHS.

BCHC chief executive Tracy Taylor has welcomed a King's Fund report (published 13 February, 2014) setting out the case for community healthcare services to play a more prominent role in transforming NHS care delivery.

The report sets out a seven-step plan for change, based on community services working much more closely with groups of general practices and building multidisciplinary teams to care for people with complex needs.

This, the authors insist, would reduce hospital admission rates, releasing resources for patients to be cared for at home and stemming growing demand for hospital beds.

The report argues that the scale of community services is poorly understood and not well served by the way the debate on health services is often dominated by ‘GPs and hospitals’ or ‘primary and secondary care’. However, it found a growing consensus about the important role of community services and the changes needed.

The seven interrelated steps identified by the working group are:

  • reduce unnecessary complexity of community services
  • forge much closer relationships with groups of general practices
  • build multidisciplinary teams for people with complex needs, including social care, mental health and other services
  • support these teams with specialist medical input – particularly for older people and those with chronic conditions
  • create services that offer an alternative to hospital stay
  • build the information infrastructure, workforce, and ways of working and commissioning that are required to support this
  • reach out into the wider community to improve prevention, provide support for isolated people, and create healthy communities.

Tracy said: “Providers of community services will very much welcome this report, especially at such a crucial time for our health services.

“This report shows that, in meeting the challenges of the future, there is a real and increasing role for community services; for services which are delivered in, or closer to, people’s homes, and reducing demand on acute hospital settings.

“With increasing pressure on services we have to explore the delivery of care in more effective and efficient ways.
“The seven interrelated steps identified within the report provide a clear blueprint for development of the role of community services.

“Adoption of the report’s recommendations can make a real contribution to developing the healthcare system we need for the future.

“Through better integration of services around people, where they live, community services are uniquely placed to make real change in the system, and at pace.

“I hope that this report will help establish greater understanding of the role community services can deliver and its potential within future healthcare planning.”

The report was developed with extensive input from members of the Aspirant Community Foundation Trust Network.

Tracy is the newly appointed chair of the ACFTN, taking on the role following the departure in November of Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust chief executive Rob Webster.

Click here to download the report.

Click here to download the King's Fund press release.