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Hospital admissions 'on the rise'

Hospital admissions have increased by almost three million in the last seven years due to the fragmented nature of the NHS, according to a think-tank.

Policy Exchange said the number of hospital admissions has increased by 2.79 million since 2005.

In a new report, the organisation suggests that a lack of co-ordination between Primary Care Trusts, GP practices, and acute hospitals has led to an increase of hospital admissions for patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s who could be treated elsewhere.

It claims that by international standards, patients in England with chronic diseases are more likely to be admitted to hospital and stay much longer once admitted.

The report suggests that pay incentives for doctors should not be handed out for basic administrative tasks but for reducing the number of hospital admissions.

The organisation recommends that the current incentives system should be overhauled to encourage GPs and consultants to work together to provide integrated care for patients.

The report also calls for the Department of Health to run a pilot scheme of “integrated care organisations” which would bring together all local services into one organisation, operating under a single budget.

Henry Featherstone, author of the report, said: “Most patients don’t want to be stuck in a hospital ward when they could be treated in expanded GP surgeries closer to home or better still in their own homes.

“But, perversely, the present system of organisational and individual incentives actually encourages admissions to hospital. This is expensive for the NHS and bad for patient care.

“As part of the current NHS reforms the government should consider piloting a full-scale integrated care model which is proven to deliver better care for patients. This model would sit alongside the new Clinical Commissioning Groups as a way of driving up standards in a competitive environment.”

The report also recommends that patients should have access to their health records through an integrated IT system incorporating primary, community and acute information so they can manage their own care.

Readers' comments (4)

  • hospital admissions are also up because people are living longer, the family are not always able to care for elderly relatives.

    what happened to the super-centres? this integrated community care has been going on for donkeys years, there are not enough beds, too many people and not enough money.

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  • Perhaps admissions are up as people use up the free-at-the-point-of-delivery ethos before you have to pay for a private consultation.
    I can envisage, with not a great deal of imagination, that people will be a lot more reluctant to come to hospital once they have to fork out for the ambulance, blood tests, ECG ( the list is exhaustive).

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  • If someone is ill enough to need medical attention for their long term condition, and the suggestion is that this should be provided in their own home, then we need a team of advanced practitioners, both medical and nursing, who can provide 24 hour observation and medical intervention if necessary, we need the basic care needs such as nutrition, pressure area care, toiletting attended to when needed. Also rapid access to all the investigations - EEG, echocardiogram, angiogram, ERCP etc etc. Now imagine a PCT area where, say 100 people need this at any one time. How are we going to transport all these services to 100 individual homes? And provide them 24 hours a day?
    I have an idea, let's have them all in one central place and call it a hospital. Far more efficient.

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  • There are more admissions because people's illnesses are triggered by stressful situations look at the economic situation at the moment. Also beds have been reduce hence patients are being discharged too early and another thing can hardly get an appontment with a GP by the time you get one might be too late hence being admitted or going to A+E

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