Ramped-up NHS support for people living in care homes, through the use of expanded multidisciplinary teams, are among the measures outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan and designed to support social care.
Specifically, the NHS Long Term Plan pledges to roll out the Enhanced Health in Care Homes (EHCH) programme “over the coming decades”. This aims to support care homes through a consistent team of healthcare professionals, including named general practice support. An increased number of pharmacists will ensure residents receive regular clinical pharmacist-led medicine reviews.
Care home staff are also have access to NHSmail, and potentially, access to a patient’s medical records held in the Clinical Assessment Service (CAS). The Long Term Plan also promises new roles and inter-disciplinary credentialing for staff which could improve staff flows between NHS and social care.
Funding details of the plans for social care mentioned in the NHS Long Term Plan are expected to be published in the long-overdue Green Paper for Social Care. According to some media reports, this is now expected “within weeks”. In the meantime, the NHS Plan acknowledges the substantial reductions in emergency hospital admissions among people with medium and high dependency who live in care homes. “This implies that sicker patients are being successfully looked after without hospitalisation,” the Plan reports.
Commenting on the plan, Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, says: “We welcome the recognition that the NHS should offer better support to people living in care homes. The challenge for the NHS, and indeed the entire system, will be a cultural one. It is important that in the future we move towards a fully integrated system, where the money that is available is used to deliver outcomes for citizens, rather than the maintenance of organisations.”
Council chief Cllr Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, added that the current system of social care is unsustainable.