latest health care news

25.03.15

New commission launched on improving urgent care for older people

The NHS Confederation is launching an independent commission to drive improvements in urgent and emergency care for older people in and outside of hospitals.

The commission on improving urgent care for older people is tasked with finding “patient-centred solutions” to the challenges of caring for older people. 

The NHS Confederation said that due to the unprecedented pressures on hospital and community services new approaches are “vital” if older people are to receive the best care.

“To achieve this it will be essential that existing organisations work differently, and much more closely together,” the organisation said in a statement.

It is a joint initiative of the Confederation’s three forums, the Community Health Services Forum, the Hospitals Forum and the Urgent and Emergency Care Forum.

Dr Mark Newbold, a former trust chief executive, will chair the commission, which will be comprised of leaders from hospitals, community services and local government, specialist clinicians, older people’s advocates and commissioners.

The commission will hold evidence sessions, consider best practice examples and produce interim findings before publishing final recommendations by the end of the year. Workshops will also take place to help providers and commissioners implement the commission’s findings.

Dr Newbold said: “Much guidance on improving urgent care services for older people has already been issued, with key principles established and widely agreed, but progress on putting in place new services that require NHS organisations to work together has been slow.

“By using the broad membership of the NHS Confederation we can address the reasons for this, and produce recommendations that are both clinically guided and supported by all parties in local health communities, including hospitals, local authorities, community providers and General Practitioners. This will greatly assist with implementation of these vital services.”

Key questions the commission will seek answers to include:

  • What does the optimum urgent care service look like for older people?
  • Which services should change and how will they operate?
  • What new skills would be required from health and social care workforce?
  • What needs to change to ensure acute providers can provide safe and timely care to those who require it?
  • What is needed from other providers such as GP practices, community and social services?
  • Why has the shift from acute to wider community care been slow and variable and how can progress be facilitated in the future?

NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster said: “I am delighted that Mark is leading this work. His experience and wisdom, harnessed to the Confederation’s system leadership role, will be vital in helping our members deliver change.

“We know that older people are not the problem here and deserve dignified care. This commission will bring together all relevant parts of the system to examine the issues and look at workable ways for local health and social care organisations to work together in the interest of these patients, our staff and our organisations.”

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