NHS leaders reveal plans for prioritising community healthcare

Senior Male Working With Physiotherapist. Picture: HighwayStarz

Senior Male Working With Physiotherapist. Picture: HighwayStarz - Credit: highwaystarz - stock.adobe.com

North Somerset’s community health services are to be strengthened, leaders have announced.

Ten NHS leaders in North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire will look to improve access to services, drawing on feedback from more than 500 people and healthcare professionals.

The NHS Long Term Plan, published last week, highlights care outside hospital as a priority.

It emphasised the importance of expanded community health teams working to support people in their own homes, moving away from extended hospital stays.

Health leaders across North Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucester made this a priority after one-third of patients across the UK were found to stay in hospital longer than needed.

Local NHS leaders are seeking to change this by advertising for a single organisation to provide adult community health services in the area.

The aim is to ensure everyone has access to consistently good and free care, helping people stay independent and close to home.

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Around £100million a year will be earmarked for these services over the next 10 years.

Dr Kate Rush, associate medical director of the local Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know people do better when they are treated closer to home and have services available to keep them well and independent – your best bed is your own bed.

“We have a fantastic community health workforce, all helping people to live independently at home for as long as possible.

“We want to build on this and link up with other services that promote wellbeing, from exercise to diet and mental health.”

Community health services for adults will include local healthcare teams working more closely together and urgent and reactive care teams working across the area to ensure faster response times for patients, links to hospital care and beds in the community.

It is also hoped there will be clinical staff on hand to offer specialist advice on specific conditions like diabetes outside of hospital.

The plans will also see professionals becoming better connected and working under the same roof.

It is hoped that services will be in place from April 2020.