Rishi Sunak says healthcare at home could help NHS

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said focusing on treating patients at home rather than in hospital could relieve pressure on ambulance services and emergency departments.

Mr Sunak was visiting a health care centre in Leeds, speaking to patients and staff, including 75-year-old Pauline Burke and her carers – husband Patrick and daughter Emma.

Mr Sunak said to them: “It’s a wonderful facility here, isn’t it?

“What we’ve been talking to people about is trying to figure out how can we get people treated exactly where they need to be. And not everybody needs to be in hospital – they would prefer to be either at home or closer to home.”

York Press:

The Prime Minister told the family: “It works better for your mum, but it also works better for the hospitals because then they’ve got beds free.”

He added: “Now Helen (Whately, social care minister) and I have to figure out how do we replicate this model in more places so we can treat more people like your mum at home, we free up the beds in hospitals which would ease some of the pressures that we are all seeing with ambulance and emergency departments.

“The reason we’ve got some of that is just because we’ve not got enough people who can be at home, being treated at home or in the community.”

Mr Sunak then met a number of nurses and other specialists who work at the centre to help people at home and they explained the centre’s virtual ward.

York Press:

Leeds currently has 35 patients on the virtual ward who would otherwise be in hospital.

Listening to how it works, Mr Sunak said: “It’s fantastic. Thank you for what you’re doing.”

He added: “Part of the reason Helen and I are here is, following up from the session we had on Saturday, finding places where people are doing things differently and better and making a real difference, which you guys are doing.

“It’s the type of model that we just need to do more of, because it is so powerful.”

He told them: “Who doesn’t prefer to be at home if they can be at home?”

York Press:

Caroline McNamara, clinical lead for adult services at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “I think it’s really important the Prime Minister and the minister for social care have visited us in Leeds today.

“It really is a tremendous support for people, being able to come home quickly or avoid being admitted in the first place.

“A hospital is not the ideal environment for an old, frail person to be in.

“They tend to recover more quickly when we can support them in their own home, and that also avoids beds being blocked in hospital.”

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