People are beginning to wake up to the significant contribution made by community health across the country, says Tracy Taylor of the NHS Confederation’s Community Health Services Forum.
Writing in the latest issue of Nursing Management, published by RCNi, Ms Taylor states that despite community services such as district nurses, health visitors and specialist children’s nurses accounting for over 100 million patient contacts a year, they receive a lower profile than GP services and acute hospitals.
This is about to change, Ms Taylor argues, with community services increasingly the focus of system transformation.
“Public perception is shifting steadily as the number of very ill people being cared for in their own homes increases, so that the acuity of patients cared for in our community bed base is on a par with that previously seen in medical wards.”
‘A powerful force’
Ms Taylor, chief executive at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust, argues that local health services working with community groups can be a powerful force for joined-up care. She points out that more than 200 adults a week receive urgent care at home through the trust’s rapid response service as an alternative to hospital admission.
This is in addition to the 14,000 visits each week by the trust’s district nurses, who are delivering intravenous therapy, supporting the management of long-term conditions and maintaining individuals’ independence as far as possible.
Her comments come as the NHS Confederation last week published a four-page guide illuminating what community services are, the staff that make up its workforce and the vital role they play in supporting and caring for people up and down the country.
A strong voice for community services
The organisation’s Community Health Services Forum, of which Ms Taylor is a steering group member, brings together and represents organisations from across the community health sector.
Membership includes community NHS trusts and foundation trusts, social enterprises, independent sector providers of community health and integrated mental health and acute trusts. Find out more about the forum and get involved.
Read the article in full on the Nursing Management website.