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Community services are being “overlooked”, discussion suggests


21 July 2015

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The integrated models of care currently being developed by the NHS risk overlooking community health services, a discussion paper launched today suggests.

The integrated models of care currently being developed by the NHS risk overlooking community health services, a discussion paper launched today suggests.

Community services provide at least 100 million patient contacts each year – more than four times the number of A&E attendances – and accounts for £9.75 billion of the NHS’s £115.4 billion budget.

These services could improve patient access and take on more care planning for people with long term conditions from GPs, the NHS Confederation paper said.

Matthew Winn, NHS Confederation Community Health Services Forum chair, said: “Everyone involved in developing new care models – commissioners and providers – will need to take a strategic approach to maximising the expertise, innovation and resources in community health services and release the possibilities of working in an integrated way with general practice.”

The paper recommended that community services partner with new GP federations and networks so they can work across much larger populations more quickly, and combining their knowledge of local community/voluntary sector organisations with GPs.

“To create new care models we must not start with organisational structures but instead use the views and insights of patients and the public, and engage community health care and general practice staff, to design a new future,” Winn said.

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