Published: 15 February, 2013
by TOM FOOT
PROPOSALS to shift care out of the Whittington are being driven by GP leaders who will take control of hundreds of millions of pounds of NHS funding in April.
A 50-page Care Closer to Home Strategy, published by North Central London Sector NHS Trust and Islington’s Clinical Commissioning Group, outlines proposals “to transfer a significant part of the demand for hospital services into the community”.
The Clinical Commissioning Group wants to meet the financial demands of rising hospital admissions and an ageing population by introducing a system where treatment is run from health centres and in patients’ homes.
The report says: “A strong partnership with Whittington is critical to achieving care closer to home, as we share common strategic goals for shifting care to appropriate settings and developing community settings.
“We intend to work with our acute providers to transfer a significant part of the demand for hospital services into the community and primary care settings, including patients’ homes. Whittington Health has already committed to this.”
The documents talk about helping patients “self-manage” long-term conditions. A system of “virtual wards” is being explored by the Whittington.
The changes – which the documents say will benefit diabetes and heart disease patients – aim to bring about £20million worth of savings at the hospital over three years.
The report says hospital admissions in the North Central London sector have been “on the increase” . There were 59,782 admissions in 2009-2010, 65,211 in 2010-11 and 85,720 in 2011-2012.
Outpatient referrals are also rising, the report adds.