The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has released a report highlighting the burdens faced by the acute sector.
The report, NHS reality check: Delivering care under pressure – published today (16 March) – concluded that primary care and community services need to be improved in order to reduce the current pressure on hospitals.
‘Community health and social care services do not have the capacity to deliver all the care that is needed, meaning that high admission rates have coincided with record levels of delayed transfers of care,’ the report said.
‘Lack of capacity means that some people are discharged from hospital too soon, often to overstretched primary, community and social care services.’
‘A sharp reminder’
Responding to the report, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘The report is a sharp reminder for the Government of what happens when you neglect the future NHS workforce. Ministers have failed to train enough people and changes to student funding are putting more people off a career in nursing. Finance cannot trump patient safety – safe and effective staffing levels are a necessity, not a luxury.
‘If the Government wants to stop patients and pressure piling up in hospitals, they must address the shortcomings in public health and community services, value the nursing staff we have and invest in the nursing workforce,’ Davies said.
The RCP called for investment in community and social care provision to ensure that people get the ‘right care, in the right place’, reducing avoidable hospital admissions and delayed transfers of care.
What is needed:
- The report advocates for better stepdown provision to facilitate patients’ transition out of hospital;
- Time allowed in job plans for physicians to build links across teams and settings, and to collaborate and innovate, and;
- Ensuring that sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) reflect current need as well as future aspirations.
Prioritise public health and prevention
‘We need to adopt progressive public health policies and invest in prevention by reversing the cuts to the local authority public health allocation,’ the report said.
The report called on the Department of Health to ‘address nurse shortages and promote innovative staffing models, eg physician associates working with doctors’.