Wednesday, 12 March 2014
WE NEED TO BRING OUR HEALTH AND CARE SERVICES INTO THE 21ST CENTURY
Too many older people are stuck in hospital wanting to go home but unable to do so because the help and support is not there for them. This is contributing to the crisis in A&E created by the Tory-led Government.
The Oldham Report, which was published this week, sets out proposals to provide better care for millions of older people who would benefit from a single care team – doctors, nurses, therapists – working together to support them.
The report focuses on how we can ensure better, more efficient care for the millions of older people and those with long-term conditions who have multiple needs.
This group of people currently account for 70 per cent of all health and care spending, but the care they receive is fragmented and inefficient, with the system responding separately to each problem, and families passed around between different professionals and organisations. This fragmentation also means that problems get missed, such as mental ill-health.
Whole-person care is also about putting more emphasis on preventing illness in the first place and avoiding the need for unnecessary hospital visits. When an older person falls and suffers a fracture it causes pain and distress. It also costs the NHS £2 billion a year. It would be better to pay £50 installing a grab rail in someone’s home rather than £14,000 treating someone with a broken hip.
If we are to provide older people with the care they deserve and prevent our NHS being overwhelmed by spiralling costs, then we need to help it meet the challenges of the 21st Century. That’s what Labour is determined to do.