Invest in community care to reduce hospital readmissions and save millions of pounds, says new NHS report

A new report from NHS Confederation highlights both the clinical and cost benefits of a greater investment in community rehabilitation services, which the CSP has been calling on the government to provide.

A physio providing community rehabilitation

The report,  Unlocking the power of health beyond the hospital: supporting communities to prosper, explores how investment in community-based care can improve system productivity.

Its findings reveal that ‘there is a substantial opportunity to improve system productivity by investing in community care, which can unlock benefits for local citizens and the broader economy.’

The authors of the report said: ‘Our analysis suggests that such a shift could save the typical-sized integrated care system (ICS) around £26 million in reduced acute demand alone, in addition to the vital and wider positive economic footprint that our earlier work has shown healthy populations engender.

Community care is vitally important in its own right. But by investing in upstream, preventative care, a system has greater capacity to treat patients earlier in the pathway, which ultimately mitigates the likelihood that they will become acutely unwell and require more costly care

‘By improving health and avoiding time in hospital, individuals will be more productive, which contributes to a larger and more effective workforce (including within the NHS itself) and increased consumer spending and tax revenues, which collectively contribute to wider economic growth overall.’

Strengthening the case for more community rehab

Commenting on the findings of the report, CSP strategic communications manager, James Crichton-Smith said: ‘The report from the NHS Confederation again highlights what we have long known: investing in community-based services, such as rehab, has a positive impact on the wider NHS system.

This report adds further weight to our case, that rehabilitation in hospital, but crucially in the community, can avoid people entering a cycle of readmission

‘What's more, the newly-published model for community rehabilitation and intermediate care framework from NHS England sets a clear ambition and aims for ICSs to ensure that the potential for improved services and rehab in the community is realised.’

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