Commenting on a report released today by NHS Providers which says promises to bring more patient care closer to home by prioritising NHS community services have fallen flat, Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said:
“This is shocking news and extremely concerning. From my point of view the only thing preventing the total meltdown of our acute hospital services is community care in its broadest sense.
“Almost all the plans for how the NHS as a whole is meant to cope with demand both in short term (i.e. winters) and the longer term as in the five-year plan and, more recently, the proposed ‘STPs’ are predisposed on increased care closer to home for patients, both preventing admissions to hospital and also providing timely care after the acute illness has past.
“This report gives a much-needed but frankly distressing wake up call to all those who currently write the policies and tell us year on year things will be better, mainly because of better (i.e. more costly) community care projects.
“On a slightly smaller scale, many hospitals up and down the country have capital and staffing plans based on proposed community care projections and if, as is shown, these are nothing but pipe dreams it will mean the financial and operational viability of many units will be on a knife-edge
“Going forward, without proper long-term investment in this vital area of care for millions of people, the acute sector could be plunged into another cycle of increasing demand that can barely be met and that will not only be in the ‘winter pressure’ season but day on day every month of the year.”