This is the obvious solution but the Tories don’t want to admit how cruel their policy of closing cottage hospitals was. None more hawkish than local District and County Councillors. – Owl
The NHS needs a “rethink” to deal with Britain’s increasing sick population, the former head of Britain’s family doctors has said.
Dame Clare Gerada, former chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, called for a new generation of cottage hospitals to offer better treatment to elderly people increasingly living longer with multiple illnesses.
“The problem with the NHS at the moment isn’t obesity, not really, and it isn’t really because we’re getting older, it’s actually because we’re getting older with chronic disease,” she told Times Radio.
CHRIS HARRIS FOR THE TIMES
“So for the last 20 years of our life, most of us are suffering from three, four, five, even ten long-term conditions and we’re living with those until our late 80s and early 90s. And the NHS was designed for a time when the average life expectancy was 67, when you tended to become unwell not long before that, and the NHS was geared up to provide acute care for those acute illnesses.”
Gerada, who will sit on The Times Health Commission, which launches today, led an ultimately unsuccessful campaign against David Cameron’s NHS reforms a decade ago and warned against another structural upheaval.
“Clearly what we need now is a rethink — not a top-down reorganisation, but a rethink about where the staff are, where staff are trained, where the resources are.”
She said ministers should consider “how we develop what I would call cottage hospitals — we used to have them and they all got closed down.”
She said beefing up care closer to home would help “deliver the two extremes of what patients need, which is one of acute necessary care, you break your leg, you’ve got an acute infection… but for the vast majority of patients today it’s the long-term chronic disease which isn’t really treated in a way that it should be.”
With waiting times for both emergency and routine care at record highs, The Times commission will take evidence from across the health service and draw up a radical blueprint for far-reaching reform of the NHS and social care.