Theresa May: Brexit cash boost is to help fund health care
Round-the-clock rapid response squads will be set up across the country and extra support for care home residents is being put in place. The £3.5 billion a year plan will cut needless admissions and mean more patients that do need to be treated on a ward are home sooner. Around a third of hospital patients stay in longer than they need to but it can have a devastating impact on older people, with just a ten day stay causing the equivalent of a decade in muscle ageing.
Mrs May said part of the funding would come through savings made by no longer having to hand over vast sums of cash to Brussels.
She said: “Too often people end up in hospital not because it’s the 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 hard working staff. This needs to change.
“That’s why I’m announcing a major boost in funding for community healthcare, which will give more patients a genuine and high-quality alternative to hospital.
“The new approach we’re setting out today will mean more people can leave hospital quicker, or avoid being admitted in the first place – which is better for patients and better for the health service.
“Leaving the EU means taking back control of our money as we will no longer be sending vast sums to Brussels. This helps our public finances and means we have more money to spend on domestic priorities like our NHS.
“And we’ve been able to fully fund this historic commitment without raising taxes.”
More money to be spent on the NHS
Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists will be brought together in rapid response teams
Common problems that need urgent attention but do not require emergency hospital admissions, such as having a fall or suffering from an infection, will be dealt with where patients live more frequently under the plans.
Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists will be brought together in rapid response teams to provide urgent care and recovery support away from hospital night and day.
More than a third of hospital admissions from care homes are avoidable, according to the Government. Under the plans, there will be dedicated support to help residents stay out of hospital, including on-site assessments of their medication by local pharmacists.
GPs and other experts will also be assigned to a home so they can get to know individual residents and work out the support and treatment they need.
Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and Britain’s Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt
As well as improving patients’ health, the changes are also expected to cut NHS costs, free up beds and reduce waiting times. It is hoped the overhaul will also ease the pressure on over-stretched health service staff.
The extra funding will amount to £3.5 billion a year by 2023/4 but charities warned more cash would still be needed to solve the problems the NHS is facing.
Anita Charlesworth, research director at the Health Foundation, said: “This ‘new’ money will be part of the NHS funding settlement already announced, and so will mean hard choices for other areas of the health service that will get less growth.
“Without a strong focus in the NHS long-term plan on how to improve services, such as by increasing continuity of care and supporting people to manage their own conditions, we will continue to see mounting pressure on hospitals while their share of funding potentially decreases.
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“And if primary and community services are genuinely to be the priority, the biggest challenge will be staffing; GP numbers are falling and attempts to recruit more internationally have fallen well short of the government’s targets.”
The government wants a range of services, such as diabetes and heart check-ups, to be provided in the community more frequently.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said local services were being guaranteed a growing share of the health service budget for the first time.
He said: “Everyone can see that to future-proof the NHS we need to radically redesign how primary and community health services work together.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England,
“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.”
The funding is part of the extra cash announced by the Prime Minister as part of her long-term plan for the NHS.
An extra £20 billion a year is promised overall for the service as a 70th “birthday present”.