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PCTs failing to reduce acute admissions

February 3, 2010

The HSJ reports how just 10 per cent of primary care trusts have successfully reduced emergency admissions to their local acute trusts. This is very important and very worrying – but not perhaps surprising.

The NHS finances are in a potentially terrible state – and huge savings have to be made immediately. If PCTs fail to make significant, transformational changes in how they deliver services then they will have no chance of making the savings and cost reductions necessary. This is not about improving how things are done now, and squeezing at the edges. Rather it needs a completely new view of how care is delivered, of what is best for patients rather than what is best for existing NHS structures and processes. It requires much more focus on preventing illness and exacerbations, of proactively assessing individual risk, and then acting before the all too often predictable events that lead to acute admissions.

Acute admissions to hospital are bad for everyone. Most importantly for the patients who need to be kept out of hospitals whenever possible, and away from the risk of infections, over-worked staff and poor experiences. But acute admissions are also bad for the NHS and all of us – they are expensive and bleed money that the NHS just does not have. Many acute admissions are avoidable – this is well-known, and well-proven. Now we need PCTs to aggressively attack such avoidable events and to do so quickly.

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