NHS could save millions5th April 2012
The King’s Fund has said the NHS could save millions of pounds every year with better management of treatable conditions such as asthma.
Its research revealed that preventing patients with common conditions such as flu, asthma and diabetes from ending up in hospital could save £250m.
A report from the thinktank said the NHS in England was wasting resource by not doing more to reduce avoidable admissions to hospital for “ambulatory care-sensitive conditions” (ACSCs) that patients could manage themselves or with the help of their GP.
Such conditions included angina, dehydration and gastroenteritis and ear, nose and throat (ENT) infections, said the King’s Fund.
It said if doctors and health professionals intervened earlier to help people manage their conditions money could be saved, particularly at a time that the NHS is required to make £20bn in efficiency savings by 2015.
Data shows the conditions most likely to produce an ACSC admission in 2009-10 were flu and pneumonia, COPD, ENT infections, dehydration and gastroenteritis, and convulsions and epilepsy.
Together they accounted for 56.8% of all the ACSC admissions.
Anna Dixon, the King’s Fund director of policy, said it was important to help those with acute ACSCs through early interventions.
“This is about the patient identifying the onset of early symptoms and contacting the health services, and the health service then intervening,” she said.
She said the NHS should make more use of “virtual wards” where instead of being referred to a hospital a patient remains at home under the care of a multi-disciplinary team that provides care mainly by telephone.
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