New community care report is a 'wake-up call' for the government, says CSP

The health and care system in England must shift its focus away from hospital care to primary and community services if it is to be effective and sustainable, according to a new report published by the King’s Fund this week.


The report, Making care closer to home a reality, explores why successive governments have failed to achieve their stated aim to place a greater emphasis on primary and community care and services – and proposes solutions that could help make this ambition a reality.

It states that there is a vital need for ‘a wholesale shift in the focus towards primary and community health and care across the domains of leadership, culture and implementation’ which would then ‘free up every sector to provide the care that it is best equipped to deliver.’

King's Fund report on making care closer to home a reality

The report was informed by interviews carried out with a diverse range of stakeholders from across the health and care professions, including practitioners, patient representatives, managers, and policymakers.

The CSP also provided input into the report’s findings and highlighted the vital role of physiotherapists and community rehabilitation.

Rob Yeldham, CSP director of strategy, policy and engagement, said: ‘This report should be yet another wake-up call for government and NHS leaders and is a damning indictment of the leadership shown on community care over the last 30 years.

The CSP has long advocated for and supported services such as rehabilitation moving into the community wherever appropriate as a means to ease the pressure on the NHS, but also provide the best outcomes for people.

These efforts, however, will be in vain if politicians and system leaders do not take decisive, whole-sale action as needed, and which this report identifies as so sorely lacking

‘The CSP will continue to work with the system to ensure that the ambition for greater community healthcare services is realised.’

A long-running failure of policy and implementation

In addition to consulting the CSP and a variety of other stakeholders, the authors of the report also reviewed existing research and evidence from the past 30 years, both from England and internationally, and analysed national datasets. 

They concluded that the failure to grow and invest in primary and community health and care services is one of the most significant and long-running failures of policy and implementation in the NHS and social care over the past 30 years.

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