By partnering with housing services, the NHS can help patients to live healthier and more independent lives, writes Rachael Byrne
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At the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester last month, much was said about the need for health and care sectors to collaborate to achieve much needed efficiency savings and deliver world class health and social care services.
This was emphasised by Stephen Dorrell, who highlighted the requirement for the NHS to partner with councils, public health and housing.
These partnerships have more chance of success if they are developed with trusted organisations, those with capacity to support delivery of innovative services.
We desperately need a care revolution to meet demand and alleviate pressure on the NHS
At Home Group we have so much to offer primary care, health trusts and clinical commissioning groups in the pursuit of better health and wellbeing. Our service offer is integrated across health, housing and social care, delivering services in the community, in hospital wards, in GP surgeries and in people’s own homes.
It is widely recognised that decent housing makes a fundamental difference to mental and physical health and wellbeing and has a critical contribution to make to the value and effectiveness of the health and care system.
The memorandum of understanding to support joint action on improving health through the home places a responsibility on health, housing and social care professionals to work together to enable better health and wellbeing outcomes for their populations. But it’s not simply about bricks and mortar.
Our connections with our customers and the wider community means we are well placed to work closely with primary care to deliver services which can reduce GP appointments, prevent hospital admissions and readmissions, support people to get back home after a stay in hospital and enable people to self-manage long term conditions.
It is widely recognised that decent housing makes a fundamental difference to mental and physical health and wellbeing and has a critical contribution to make to the value and effectiveness of the health and care system
We provide the support people need to remain in their homes, to be able to reintegrate into their communities and become less dependent on health services. Commissioning a service like the one we provide in Norfolk to help people with mental health problems leave hospital on time, at scale could deliver annual saving excess of costs of £500,000.
At the NHS Confederation conference, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said that if extra funding were to be available, it should be going to social care. We need to ensure more people get the most appropriate care and support at the most appropriate time, diverting them from chronic reliance on the health service.
We desperately need a care revolution to meet demand and alleviate pressure on the NHS. Housing associations providing both housing and care and support services are key partners to accomplishing this.
Rachael Byrne is executive director for care and support at Home Group