More care at home can help reduce NHS waiting times and alleviate pressures on health service, according to new policy paper

Clinical homecare could be key in tackling health inequalities and reducing the NHS backlog, according to a new paper from leading healthcare policy think tank, Future Health.

Clinical homecare is the provision of specialist care and treatment to patients at their home, work, or in the community; it is a patient-centred model and can be used for a range of short-term and chronic conditions, including cancer, HIV, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone Disease, and Crohn’s. Currently, 392,000 people receive clinical homecare in England.

Hospitals are battling long and growing waiting lists, exacerbated significantly by the pandemic. Clinical homecare can help reduce the NHS backlog by freeing up beds and releasing hospital-based capacity, relieving pressure on our NHS hospitals. More effective care in the community can also prevent hospitalisation by helping patients manage their conditions and prevent conditions worsening.

Health inequalities can be tackled by clinical homecare too; care at home or in the local community improves patient access, makes it easier for those with reduced mobility, provides continuity of care, and improves patients’ quality of life.

In response to Covid-19, the way care was delivered changed; care was accessible online, in the home, and community to protect the vulnerable and to meet patients’ needs. An additional 20,000 people accessed clinical homecare during the first three months of the pandemic alone (March-June 2020). Building on the progress in the pandemic could see 400,000 more people cared for at home rather than in hospital over the next five years.

Richard Sloggett, author of the paper, and Founder and Programme Director of Future Health comments:

“During the pandemic we have learnt important lessons about what works well in our health system. Care closer to home is popular with patients, carers and family members and can help alleviate pressures on our hospitals. An expansion of clinical homecare over the next five years can improve access to services and enable the recovery of the NHS surgery backlog.”

Polling suggests people are receptive to receiving care in the community too; 42% would prefer treatment at home over in hospital, compared with 24% who would prefer not to be treated at home*.

Jo Upton, Head of Nursing at LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare says:

“The provision of care at home or in the local community through partnerships with the NHS takes the pressure off hospital-based capacity, which has never been more important.

“We work with patients with a wide range of conditions, some are rare diseases, some are more commonplace. Diseases do not discriminate, they can affect anyone; through offering care in the community, we can help to break down some of the burdens that come with regular hospital visits, give more control back to patients, and improve their quality of life.”

The Care closer to home: The role of clinical homecare in the revolution of patient care paper, commissioned by LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare, launches on 23rd March 2022.