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King’s Fund: Make community care a reality

Rather than focusing performance management on the hospital and emergency care system, Integrated Care Boards should be held to account for their achievements in growing primary and community health and care services.

That is a key conclusion of a new King’s Fund report, Making Care Closer To Home A Reality.

The report describes successive governments’ failure to grow and invest in primary and community health and care services “as one of the most significant and long-running failures of policy and implementation in the NHS and social care for more than 30 years”.

Among the causes cited in the report are a ‘cycle of invisibility’ for primary and community health and care services, where they are hard to quantify and easy to overlook, and ‘hierarchies of care’, where urgent problems take priority over longer-term issues.

The report concludes that future growth in funding and staffing needs to be directed proportionately more to primary and community health and care services rather than to acute hospitals.   

Commenting, Care England CEO Professor Martin Green said: “Acute pressures and the short-term nature of government funding cycles dominate health and care leaders’ capacity and resources. This means their scope to focus on long-term outcomes such as prevention is significantly hampered.”

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