Government must improve preventive care outside hospitals

08 June 2018

The Public Accounts Committee report warns hospitals, GPs, community services and social care need to work together more effectively

Emergency admissions to hospitals continue to rise, despite the NHS’s efforts to reduce them.

It is lamentable that nearly 1.5 million people could have avoided emergency admissions in 2016–17 if hospitals, GPs, community services and social care had worked together more effectively.

It is frustrating that NHS England and partners are making some progress in reducing the impact of emergency admissions for patients and hospitals when they do happen, but no impact on reducing the numbers of admissions that could have been avoided.

NHS England needs to deliver on its five-year plan to move care into the community and out of hospitals. This move is overdue.

Chair's comments

Comment from Committee Chair, Meg Hillier MP:

"The consequences of Government’s failure to properly fund and coordinate preventive health care and social care are laid bare in this Report.

Around a quarter of emergency admissions to hospital could and should have been avoided.

That they were not further threatens the ability of cash-strapped hospitals to cope with demand and risks harm to patients through, for example, unnecessary overnight stays or the postponement of operations.

The benefits of work to reduce the impact of emergency admissions will inevitably be limited until hospitals, GPs, community services and social care work better together to drive down the level of avoidable admissions.

NHS England and NHS Improvement must take a lead here and move swiftly to better understand the stresses across the health and social care sectors and their implications.

A priority must be to properly identify the impact of measures intended to reduce emergency admissions and explain how this information will be used to target scarce resources effectively.

The financial challenges facing the NHS and adult social care are well-documented and it is critical that taxpayers’ money is spent on what works best."

Further information

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