Sunday 22 July 2018
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RNHA Calls for Top Level Review

The NHS needs to look closely at how it meets the health needs of older people in care homes, the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) said today.

It wants the new NHS Commissioning Board to undertake a comprehensive review of the extent and quality of NHS care, including GP services, district nursing, continence support and specialist nutritional advice, provided to over 400,000 people living in care homes across the country.

Following such a review, the RNHA wants the board to issue guidance to the new clinical commissioning groups which, subject to the Health and Social Bill becoming law, will assume statutory responsibility for planning and funding local NHS services from April of next year.

Said RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell: “We should like to see a greater emphasis across the NHS on ensuring that care home residents receive the healthcare they need. At present, the picture is very patchy.”

He added: “Many of us in the care home sector had hoped that this week’s report from the Care Quality Commission would take us in that direction. But, sadly, it represents a missed opportunity.

“It is very disappointing that the CQC did not really get to the nub of the question about why, in some parts of the country, GPs and local community health services are not providing the quantity or quality of care needed by care home residents.

“Instead, the CQC appears to have allowed itself to be diverted into inspecting the internal arrangements of a handful of care homes rather than looking at what the NHS itself is doing to ensure that older people’s health care needs are met. The CQC’s eye, I suspect, has been taken off the ball. And, as the CQC itself admits, the sample of homes involved was too small to allow any conclusions to be drawn.”

The RNHA says it intends to write to the chief executive of the NHS Commissioning Board, Sir David Nicholson, to request a review of how the NHS could liaise more effectively with care homes in ensuring that NHS primary care and specialist services are delivered in a timely and efficient manner to care home residents across England.