Can the drive for more and better community care be revived?
The drive to treat more patients ‘closer to home’ as promoted in policy such as the Five year forward view (FYFV) has ‘fallen flat’, according to NHS Providers.
Prioritising community services is seen as a way of cutting resource pressures on hospitals, saving money and improving the patient experience.
The industry body’s report, NHS community services: taking centre stage, claims support for community-based measures has ‘failed to match the rhetoric’, leaving many providers ‘marginalised, underfunded and short staffed’.
However, the report also details what it calls ‘striking examples of good practice where community service providers have successfully developed new ways of working, collaborating with other services to improve care for patients’.
The report list findings from a survey of NHS trust leaders, which show:
- more than half of community trusts (52%) said funding in their area had fallen in this financial year
- nearly half (44%) said they were cutting costs
- about a third (30%) said they had cut staff
- More than four out of five of all provider trusts (82%) were worried or very worried that community health services would not receive the investment they need to deliver the ambitions of the FYFV.
NHS Providers: Time to end neglect of NHS community services