“Care in the Community not working”

“Dr Bruce Hughes, chairman of the Devon Local Medical Committee (DLMC) which represents GPs, was speaking following a National Audit Office report today (Wednesday).

It says the Government’s £5.3billion Better Care Fund had ‘fallen far short’ of its goal of integrating health and social care.

Dr Hughes, a partner at Fremington Medical Centre, said it reaffirmed GPs’ serious concerns locally about transferring some hospital services and care into the community.

They are worried the national picture could be reflected in the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) review currently going on in Devon, which includes proposals to care for more patients in their own homes.

He said: “The report’s findings indicate that this approach doesn’t tangibly improve patient outcomes and experience, reduce emergency hospital admissions or save money – something we fear could be replicated locally as the same principle of community-based care underpins much STP.

“We urge our STP leaders to pause the transformation process in the local healthcare system and closely examine the report to ensure that the STP and its aspirations aren’t flawed.”

The DLMC wants to know how moving hospital services or treatment into the community will be paid for, as GPs and other services are already greatly stretched.

Dr Hughes added: “We look forward to working closely with STP leaders in the coming months, as general practice is the gateway to the wider healthcare system and has a crucial role to play in the successful delivery of local transformation, to ensure high quality patient care.”

The Health and Social Care Integration report claims the Better Care Fund ‘has not achieved the expected value for money, in terms of savings, outcomes for patients or hospital activity’.

It says the national initiative did not achieve the planned savings of £511 million, with an 87,000 increase in emergency admissions to hospitals between 2014-15 and 2015-16, against a planned reduction of 106,000.”