Kent’s plans to join up health and care services have been announced as part of the Government’s nationwide proposals to improve care and provide more dignity for older and vulnerable people, reduce A&E admissions and length of stay in hospital.
This has been made possible by the Government’s £5.3 billion Better Care Fund. This will bring GPs, community nurses, and care workers together so they can provide better care closer to home that keeps people independent and healthy for longer, preventing unnecessary stays in hospital and giving families more confidence over how their loved ones are looked after.
Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter said he hoped ‘every pound’ of the money allocated would be used to improve health and social care in the county. Kent is one of 14 national Pioneers of health and social care integration.
He said: “It’s vitally important that every pound of this money is used as a catalyst to begin to make real changes in the way healthcare is delivered in Kent. We are determined to achieve our goal and ambition as Pioneers of seeing 24/7 GP access for patients and accessible good quality services available in the patient’s own home or community.
“We hope that the Better Care Fund will go some way to providing a combined package of care and support that will, where possible, avoid hospital admissions and keep people in Kent healthier and independent for longer.”
Under the plans nationwide, people will be able to get the right care when and where they need it, including at the weekend, thanks to a new national standard of seven-day health and social care. The plans being approved today by NHS England will also prevent around 160,000 A&E admissions, 2,000 care home admissions and result in over 100,000 fewer delayed discharges, meaning people get home from hospital more quickly when they do have to be admitted.
Kent’s plan to improve services aims to achieve:
- Total overall savings locally of £11.83 million which can be reinvested in other health services
- Reducing A&E admissions of 5,128 next year, saving the county £7.64 million
- Reducing admissions to care homes by 5 % – meaning more dignity and independence for the elderly by providing care at or closer to home
Nationally the plans will improve people’s experience of health and care services by providing:
- Seven day care services so people get care at the weekends and are not left waiting in hospital
- A named professional who joins up different services around people’s individual needs and stops them being passed from pillar to post
- Better sharing of information so people only have to tell their story once
- Joint assessments so services work together from the start and provide a care plan that works for the user
These plans show how local services aim to achieve:
- 163,000 fewer stays in A&E, meaning a 3.07% in admissions and saving £253m
- £532m savings for health and care services
- 101,000 fewer unnecessary days spent in hospital by reducing delayed transfers of care
- 12,000 more older people still at home three months after being discharged from hospital
- 2,000 more people prevented from being admitted into a care home and supported to live independently
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “For years, successive governments and NHS leaders have talked about joining up our health and care services so people get better care at the right time and in the right place. The time for talk is over – our plans will make this vision a reality for patients and help deliver a sustainable future for the NHS.
“Too many families experience being passed from pillar to post, between the NHS and their council, endlessly repeating their stories along the way. By breaking down barriers within the system, these plans will allow staff to work together to prevent people from becoming ill in the first place, meaning our hospitals can focus on treating the patients who really need to be there.”