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Saving money, expanding capacity – our latest report shows NHS providers how they can do both

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Last month, ZPB launched the report, There’s no place like home, on behalf of the expert panel in clinical homecare, which showed that the NHS in England could save £120 million a year if every acute trust used a virtual ward; that’s a fifth of the £580 million deficit predicted for NHS providers in 2016/17.

Working with both the expert panel, healthcare data analysts, MedeAnalytics, and supported by our client Healthcare at Home, we’ve shared the report with a range of stakeholders to raise awareness of the potential clinical care in the home has of improving patient care, alleviating pressure on the acute sector, and saving money.

The report’s findings of cash savings and increased capacity are based on the analysis of more than 9,000 patients cared for on virtual wards at four acute trusts, comparing them to more than 4.2 million patients cared for in hospital. The trusts saved £490 per inpatient spell and gained enough capacity to have allowed them to perform an extra 1,470 hip replacements, which could have generated £7.43m. The care was as safe and effective as in-hospital care but of shorter duration.

In addition to the data analysis, which was done by MedeAnalytics, ZPB interviewed patients, doctors and healthcare managers at a further eight acute trusts for the report. All eight use various forms of clinical care in the home and have found it popular with patients while also improving their capacity to treat more patients.

Clinical care in the home is defined as integrated care, treatment
and support that takes place
in a person’s home or place of residence and a virtual ward is a variation that works like a hospital ward, uses the same systems and daily routines as a ward, but care is delivered in the patient’s home by a dedicated team of clinicians.

There’s no place like home builds on the 2015 white paper from the expert panel, Building the case for clinical care in the home at scale, which identified wide-ranging patient benefits for clinical care in the home such as fast recovery, good quality of life and low rates of hospital readmissions, as well as benefits to the health system such as alleviating capacity pressures, freeing resources for those with acute healthcare needs and improving patient flow through the system. The inquiry into clinical care in the home was launched following the failure of the NHS roadmap – Five Year Forward View – to even mention it as a possible model of care.

Chris Outram, who is chair of The Christie in Manchester, chairs the expert panel, which is supported by Healthcare at Home but it is an independent group whose members share their insights in a personal capacity. Members of the expert panel come from a range of backgrounds and include clinicians such as paediatrician Dr Omowunmi Akindolie, pharmacists Susan Gibert and Jackie Eastwood, nurse Caroline Cooper, people at the heart of the NHS such as Victoria Bennett at NHS England and Phil McCarvill at NHS Confederation, NHS local leaders Jane Hayward from University Hospital Southampton and Terry Whalley from Black Country Alliance. The private sector is well-represented too with Rick Greville from the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, Carrie Brown of Biogen, Olivia Kessel of Abbvie and Garrett Taylor from AMG .