Theresa May to spend £3.5bn on NHS bed-blocking crackdown with rapid response teams
NHS rapid response teams will be rolled-out in communities to care for elderly patients at home so hospital beds are not being held up unnecessarily, Theresa May has revealed.
The Prime Minister said GPs and pharmacists will be sent into care homes, to offer “tailored treatment” while doctors, nurses and physiotherapists will be on call 24/7 to help pensioners wherever they live.
The move would use up £3.5bn in funding by 2023-24 from the £20bn announced for the health service earlier this year as part of a new NHS long-term plan.
Theresa May said: “Too often people end up in hospital not because it’s best place to meet their needs but because the support that would allow them to be treated or recover in their own home just isn’t available.
“Many of us might assume that hospital is the safest place to be – but in reality many patients would be much better off being cared for in the community.
“And the longer a patient stays in hospital the more it costs the NHS and the more pressure is put on its hardworking staff. This needs to change."
The Prime Minister made the comments ahead of a visit to a north London health centre this morning where she will lay out the pledge.
The Government said as many as a third of people in hospital stay longer than they need to, often because they can’t get treatment close to home.
It added that elderly patients are at risk of premature muscle ageing by around ten years, after just ten days in a hospital bed.
And it said community healthcare can cut costs for the NHS, ease pressure on staff and help cut waiting times by allowing hospitals to focus their resources where they are most needed.
Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said: “Everyone can see that to future-proof the NHS we need to radically redesign how primary and community health services work together.
“For community health services this means quick response to help people who don’t need to be in hospital, as well as dissolving the 70 year old boundary between GP practices and community nursing.
“But to will the end is to will the means. That’s why – as part of the NHS Long Term Plan – for the first time we’re going to guarantee that these services get a growing share of the growing NHS budget.”