latest health care news

16.09.15

Suite of publications set to bring community services to the forefront of NHS care

NHS Providers has launched today (16 September) a publication designed to “recognise and expand” the role of NHS community health services.

The ‘Community Health Services – A Way of Life’ publication, including infographics and a supporting blog, aims to drive patient care back into home, clinic and pharmacy settings while only focusing high-risk and specialist intervention in hospitals.

It draws on the need to better define and recognise the role of NHS community health services by reinforcing its supply of trained and skilled professionals and refocusing the healthcare strategy on public health and patient-centred care.

Dame Gill Morgan, chair of NHS Providers, said that in order for this to happen, “we will need commitment, leadership and, crucially, an NHS freed to develop and move to new models of local, community-based, person-centred care and provide the services that can only be delivered in a hospital at the same time”.

She added: “This is the only way to unleash the community sector’s current benefit and future potential. Commissioning and regulation needs to keep pace, enabling new and expanded community models of care provided in and around people’s homes.

“They will need to modify their approaches and assessments in order to assure themselves that trusts providing community health services are safe, well-led and positive for all.

“At its heart, the NHS is looking for a new intimacy in its approach which brings care and support into people’s private domains. The NHS is seeking to be invited to be guests in the everyday lives of people rather than only be there when things go wrong. This is what community healthcare services excel at.”

Morgan emphasised the importance of the high-quality and complex care provided by hospitals, but stressed that services delivered in people’s homes and communities are “equally important, but unsung”.

The report said that NHS community health services help personalise care under the state service by bringing it to patients and providing it in their own neighbourhoods. This personal approach to healthcare means services can take on “different forms” and organise themselves in different ways to meet the specific needs of service users.

The publication draws on different case studies around the country to assess multispecialty providers that are developing beneficial community-based services within budget.

It listed recommendations based on the studies, such as to move commitment and leadership beyond rhetoric and ascribe a “new language” to promote community services.

In Morgan’s blog, she also detailed the need to deal with the “artificial division” between primary and community services alongside offering new ways of measuring and funding the sector’s work.

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