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Third of acute care 'not needed'

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A third of acute services in the NHS are not needed, the NHS Confederation has said.

Mike Farrar, chief executive of the body which represents all health service organisations, said that 30% of patients treated in acute care could be treated elsewhere in the health service.

Mr Farrar told the Health Select Committee that a “big chunk” of the government’s £20 billion efficiency drive needs to be found in acute services.

“We would effectively be able to operate with a much smaller acute base,” Mr Farrar said.

“Not that we would be able to get rid of it entirely but we would need a smaller acute base for acutely ill patients.”

He said that assessments which test whether inpatients need hospital services have found that 30% to 40% could be treated elsewhere.

“I think we could be talking at least 30% of our acute capacity which we do not need,” he said.

In order to reconfigure hospitals, it would be “absolutely critical” to strengthen GP services, community care and social care, he added.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • There doesn't appear to be much evidence of the govt doing anything to strengthen GP services, community practice or social care. If anything, it feels like some GPs are referring more patients to hospitals as a belt + braces approach just incase they've missed something. Recently read a sick toddler died waiting 70mins at a GP surgery, if I recall correctly. Bit distressing for all concerned.

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  • This government policy document would support the stance on ward closures, A&E closures, etc,etc.
    There use to be adequate rest, recovery, rehab facilities to enable people to leave acute hospitals and complete their recoveries in a protected environment; instaed of going home unsupported to rely on sometimes inadequate care in the community. Time to bring back the cottage hospitls/

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