More care must be delivered in homes for the NHS to remain financially robust, Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer, has said.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, she called some current models of care ‘outdated', and suggested too much money was spent on maintaining buildings, instead of being spent on patients.
‘Everyone in the NHS wants to ensure that every person in this country can get high-quality care whenever it is needed,’ said Ms Cummings. ‘By continuing to adapt to a changing world, the NHS will build a better service for future generations.’
She explained that many patients stay in hospital beds for too long, because of a lack of investment in social care services.
She cited several examples of greater investments in primary care. In Surrey, a £30 million investment into primary care services will be used to provide people more access to GP appointments in the evenings and at weekends, with longer appointment times where possible. She also referenced areas such as Devon, where there is demand for greater investment in primary and community care services, but resources are currently needed in the acute sector. She said that on 'a local level', the NHS wanted to put money into home-based care, but that 'resources are currently tied up in hospital beds'.
She said that refocusing priorities and money spent in the NHS would be controversial but that what was best for patients was paramount. ‘While there will always be a vigorous debate about how much money the nation invests in the NHS and in social care services, that does not change our responsibility to patients, which is to squeeze the maximum value and the best possible care from every penny that is made available to us,’ she added.