Report shows that if health service invests in community services hospital admissions will reduce

Research commissioned by the NHS Confederation shows that the more the health service budget is invested in priming community services the more it decreases hospital admissions – bringing further savings across the wider NHS.

Key figures show that for every £100 spent in the NHS community care sector, delivering care to patients closer to and in their own homes, there is a £131 return on investment in acute sector savings.

This money would typically have been spent providing care to patients in hospitals and across acute services.

The findings show how those areas of the country that spent less on community care in terms of population need have also seen – on average – higher levels of hospital and emergency activity, compared to those spending more.

Indeed, those of the 42 integrated care systems that invested more in community care witnessed 15% fewer non-elective patient admissions and 10% fewer people being taken to hospital in an ambulance every year.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, explained: “This analysis shows what we have long suspected – that investing in community services not only helps to reduce hospital admissions and demand on ambulances, but that it also saves the NHS money.

“Successive governments have long held the ambition to shift more care out of hospitals and into the community, but this has never fully materialised. With NHS budgets under huge strain, this analysis shows why it is so important to finally deliver on this long-held ambition. It’s not only better for patients to be treated in or closer to their homes, but it’s also better for the taxpayer.

He concluded: “This transition can’t happen overnight and there would need to be a period of double running before we could expect to see spend in the acute sector come down. But if we are going to place the NHS on a more sustainable footing over the long term, then this is exactly the type of shift in resources that we need to deliver.”