One in four hospital patients “would be better off if they were treated in their own home”
At least a quarter of NHS patients would be better off being treated at home under new community-based services, a leading NHS body claims.
The head of the NHS Confederation said the Health Service must convince the public to let go of the ‘hospital-or-bust’ version of medical care, a conclusion which would be likely to result in ward closures.
Mike Farrar, who runs the independent organisation representing NHS providers, said 2012 would be a key year for the NHS as it undertakes a drive for 20billion in efficiency savings by 2015.
Not getting value for money: The organisation says that hospital stays could be reduced if outside services were improved (Posed by model)
Mr Farrar said: ‘Hospitals play a vital role but we do rely on them for some services which could be provided elsewhere.
‘We should be concentrating on reducing hospital stays where this is right for patients, shifting resources into community services, raising standards of general practice, and promoting early intervention and self-care.
‘There is a value-for-money argument for doing this but it is not just about money and the public need to be told that. This is about building an NHS for the future.’
Among the changes required is a focus on treating frail people in the comfort of their homes and minimising hospital stays wherever possible, Mr Farrar said.
Better off at home Officials argue that many patients do not need to go to hospital to receive quality treatment
The Government promised last month to accelerate the use of computer-based equipment to monitor people with chronic conditions at home, after pilot studies showed it cuts hospital admissions and death rates.
There was a 45 per cent reduction in patients dying compared with those who received standard NHS care.
It is hoped that ‘telehealth’ and ‘telecare’ – where frail elderly people are monitored for falls – will be expanded so that three million patients will be covered in five years.
Pilot studies carried out in London, Cornwall and Kent included systems supplied by technology firms Philips and Tunstall.
Malcolm Hart, director of Philips’ UK Home Monitoring activities, said: ‘Admitting a patient to hospital can cost up to 2,700. Technology could help resources go further without sacrificing quality of care.’