A quarter of hospital patients 'should be discharged'
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 29 December 2011
One in four NHS hospital patients would be better off treated at home, the head of the NHS trusts organisation has said.
Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, called for more services to be provided by GPs and local clinics and for less reliance on hospitals, to raise standards, cut waste and boost confidence in the NHS.
And in a sideswipe at ministers he said there has been a lot of talk about changing services but little action. "It often feels like the focus is on everything but the thing that would make most difference."
The current way of delivering care mainly in hospitals is outdated, he said.
"Hospitals play a vital role but we do rely on them for some services which could be provided elsewhere. We should be concentrating on reducing hospital stays where this is right for patients, shifting resources into community services, raising standards of general practice, and promoting early intervention and self-care.
"[This] is not just about money – it's about building an NHS for the future."
Despite being protected from cuts, the NHS budget is under pressure from rising demand and the requirement to make £20bn of efficiency savings by 2015, to fund future rises in demand.
Evidence shows that early intervention can reduce hospital admissions and concentrating specialist services in fewer hospitals increases standards. But history shows that hospitals jealously guard their resources. There are no votes in closing hospitals and politicians have opposed reforms even where the case for change is clear.
Mr Farrar criticised the lack of political and clinical leadership needed to bring about change and warned that perverse financial incentives could delay progress.
"There is a real danger of distraction. We must not allow that to happen if we want 2012 to be a success."
The Health minister Simon Burns, said: "The challenges of rising demand, an ageing population and increasing costs of treatment won't be met by the NHS doing more of the same.
"Our plans give doctors, nurses and frontline professionals the freedom to make the best decisions for patients."
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Company decides to go for simply scary after criticising other sites for 'creepy and targeted' advertising
Footage shot by a passerby shows moment an ill man was carried out of his burning home
Peter Biaksangzuala died from his injuries in hospital on Sunday
Life & Style blogs
Soylent: Could a slug of nutritionally engineered sludge ever replace the leisurely meal?
Jeremy Hunt tells nurses 'path to lower cost is the same as the path to safer care'
Cara Delevingne photographed naked by Mario Testino for Allure magazine
Dear young men: The old stereotypes of what it is to be a 'man' are a load of rubbish
What lies beneath La Perla's 60 years of luxury lingerie?
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' on Antiques Roadshow by Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Meet Thea, Norway's 12-year-old child bride
- 5 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
£110 - £130 per day + TBA: Randstad Education Reading: Geography Teacher neede...
£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Preston: This role has arisen due to inc...
£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Bu...
£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The RoleDue to demand we are cu...