NHS Confederation has published a landmark report which explores how investment in community care can improve healthcare system productivity by reducing demand on the acute sector. The report, ‘Unlocking the power of health beyond the hospital: supporting communities to prosper’, features NCL’s Community Health Services Core Offer Programme as its only national best practice case study.
Community services play a key role in keeping people well, treating and managing acute illness and long-term conditions, and supporting people to live independently in their own homes. These services include adult community services (such as district or community nursing), children’s services (such as school visitors), specialist long-term condition management (such as diabetes care), planned community services (such as podiatry), and hospital services (such as bedded treatment for rehabilitation).
The NHS Confederation report demonstrates that, on average, systems that invested more in community care saw 15 per cent lower non-elective admission rates and 10 per cent lower ambulance conveyance rates, together with lower average activity for elective admissions and A&E attendances. Crucially, it also found that the reduction in demand for acute care associated with this higher spend on community care could fund itself through savings on acute activity.
The report includes a series of recommendations for national and local leaders. Principally, it recommends that community spend is prioritised as a mechanism for reducing long-term pressure on the acute sector, as a crucial contributor to healthcare system productivity and as a direct lever to provide patients with the care they deserve. NCL’s Community Health Services Core Offer Programme was highlighted as a case study to illustrate how leaders could put this into practice.
In NCL, we are in year 2 of a 5-year programme to implement a consistent level of community services across the five boroughs to tackle inequality of access and outcomes experienced by our residents and to re-allocate resources from the acute sector into the community.
For more information about NCL’s Community Service Core Offer Programme, please click here.