Public Health

21.05.18

Community services still ‘overstretched and underfunded’, despite promises

Promises to bring more patient care closer to home have fallen flat, according to a report by NHS Providers.

Multiple national strategies have concluded that the NHS must do more to help people stay well in their own homes and communities, avoiding the need for hospital treatment; most recently the Five Year Forward View (FYFV).

The FYFV envisaged a significantly expanded role for community services, such as community specialist nurses and physiotherapy.

However, the report concludes that support on the ground has failed to match the rhetoric, leaving providers marginalised, underfunded and short staffed.

The report, ‘NHS community services, taking centre stage’, highlights findings from a survey of leaders of 71 NHS trusts, including more than half of those providing community services.

Over half of community trusts said that funding in their area had fallen in this financial year, and 44% said that they were cutting costs, with almost a third reported having cut staff.

Almost two-thirds said that they were worried or very worried about community services’ ability to maintain adequate staffing in 12 months’ time.

A massive 82% of all provider trusts were either worried or very worried that community health services would not receive the investment they need to deliver the ambitions of the FYFV.

Over 90% of leaders said that, based on current trends, the gap between funding and demand for community services will grow over the next 12 months; the same proportion was also concerned that community services receive less national level priority than other sectors.

The report concludes that the expansion of community services has not materialised because they are not sufficiently understood or prioritised at a national or local level, are overstretched, underfunded and understaffed, and held back by “burdensome competition and procurement rules.”

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said that NHS community services are in a unique position to act as integrators, working across boundaries and collaborating with other parts of the public sector in order to tackle health inequalities.

“And yet – as our survey makes clear – all too often NHS community services are marginalised, underfunded and short staffed,” he added.

“It is patients who are paying the price for the failure to follow through on past commitments as the rest of the health and care system struggles to keep up with rising demand for treatment.”

He called for a greater priority to be given to community services at a national level, as well as within sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems, with adequate funding and action to address staff shortages.

“It is vital that national leaders address the barriers we have identified to ensure that community services are at the heart of the future health and care system,” Hopson concluded.

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Councillors fear identity crisis following CCG merger

22/06/2018Councillors fear identity crisis following CCG merger

Members of one of Kent’s leading councils have voiced their concerns against an upcoming merger between CCGs in the area. Cllr Wendy P... more >
Top NHS England boss to leave the organisation

22/06/2018Top NHS England boss to leave the organisation

NHS England’s chief financial officer will leave the post after 11 years. Paul Baumann CBE, who joined NHS London in 2007, and took up... more >
Most urgent primary care services ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’

22/06/2018Most urgent primary care services ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’

Over eight in 10 primary care services are providing good care, despite mounting work force and commissioning pressures, the CQC has said. A... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

The impact of NICE on cardiovascular disease prevention

06/06/2018The impact of NICE on cardiovascular disease prevention

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director Health and Social Care at NICE, looks into what can be done to decrease cardiovascular disease nationally and how to prevent missed opportunities in the future. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) accounts for just over a quarter of deaths and affects around 7 million people in the UK. ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Getting more out of our medicines

20/06/2018Getting more out of our medicines

Paul Chrisp, programme director of medicines and technologies at NICE, describes how the organisation is re-purposing drugs in order to improve p... more >
Under attack

20/06/2018Under attack

One attack against an NHS worker is one too many. But unfortunately, the trend in recent years has been alarmingly upwards, with no part of the N... more >
Lessons from WannaCry

20/06/2018Lessons from WannaCry

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, a member of the Public Accounts Committee, warns that the UK Government must take seriously the threat of a more soph... more >
A hostile environment

20/06/2018A hostile environment

Dr Terry John, chair of the BMA’s international committee, gives his thoughts on the government’s visa and immigration policy and its... more >

interviews

Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >
Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and a boar... more >
Scan4Safety: benefits across the whole supply chain

02/10/2017Scan4Safety: benefits across the whole supply chain

NHE interviews Gillian Fox, head of eProcurement (Scan4Safety) programme at NHS Supply Chain. How has the Scan4Safety initiative evolved sin... more >

health service focus

View all News