Is treating patients at home too risky?

Hospital ward image (

Plan to cut hospital admissions comes under scruntiny

Nigel Edwards from the Nuffield Trust has claimed that the £3.8bn scheme to cut hospital admissions in England to treat more people at home could actually lead to even more hospital admissions.

Writing for the BBC, Mr Edwards believes that cutting the length of hospital stays would be more effective, although the government have said that pilot schemes of the Better Health Fund have been working well across 14 areas.

Mr Edwards also recommends that around 15% of hospital admissions could be cared for in the community if GP and nursing services were improved, since many patients are only in hospital for a day or two.

Too many patients

“Most beds are occupied by relatively small numbers of patients who stay a long time. In fact, in medical wards 10% of the patients that stay in hospital for more than a week use over 71% of the beds. More can be done quickly by reducing patients’ length of stay. A large proportion of patients could be more effectively cared for elsewhere. This will require better social care, community services and new types of care,” Mr Edwards said.

Health Minister Norman Lamb responded by saying “The Better Care Fund isn’t just about cutting hospital admissions – it’s about reducing the time people spend in hospital, having services closer to home and preventing people from getting ill in the first place. It’s a new joined-up approach which will transform patient care.”