New guidance was launched this week by Health Minister Lord Darzi to support the NHS in delivering the highest quality healthcare services within the community.
The Transformational Guides for Community Services will support clinical leaders in transforming services locally, providing local staff with the information and tools they need to modernise and improve services in their community.
The guides focus on six key areas: health, well-being and reducing inequalities; acute care closer to home; people with long-term conditions; rehabilitation services; services for children, young people and families; and end-of-life care.
The guides are also intended to help commissioners understand community services better and managers to identify areas where improvements can be made. They contain best-practice examples, which the Department of Health says has been shown to improve patients' experience of community healthcare.
A Quality Framework Guidance for Community Services, published alongside the Guides, will help measure and improve the quality of community services provided. The guidance includes more than 70 proposed quality indicators, which will be tested over the coming months.
These range from improvements in health outcomes and perceived quality of life to how long wounds take to heal, and waiting times to access services. They cover aspects of effectiveness, safety and patient experience across community services.
Lord Darzi (pictured) said: "Patients have told us that whenever it is safe, they prefer to be treated close to home. The guides I am launching today will give frontline NHS staff all the information they need to help them change the way care is delivered to patients."