Creating more jobs for home care workers could be instrumental in helping the NHS to provide care in a more tailored and sustainable way, according to a new report from the NHS Alliance.
The organisation has published a new report calling for a "fundamental shift in thinking" in terms of how the health service is structured, in order to reduce bureaucracy levels, encourage collaborative working and take the pressure off the primary care sector.
Following a six-month research and consultation process, the not-for-profit body has called for community and district nurses, community pharmacists and community eye care and hearing specialists to be handed a more central role in the provision of care, helping to lessen the workload of GPs.
Meanwhile, the role of senior community nurse would be reframed to focus on coordinating health and social care for frail and elderly patients living with long-term conditions, while new community health connectors would be introduced to help organise care on a local level.
Furthermore, efforts would be made to reduce the medicalisation of issues caused by social isolation or inadequate housing, introducing a new focus on social prescribing, with a general practice development fund being launched to aid the development of the sector.
The NHS Alliance believes that such a move would help GPs, practice nurses and practice managers to operate as part of a wider team of healthcare professionals with deeper roots in the community, meaning more holistic care could be provided with a reduced focus on emergency services.
Dr Michael Dixon, chairman of the NHS Alliance, said: "We want to see change by design rather than default: change led by those working within the service who best understand the issues they and the communities around them face."
Such a move could also tie in with the government's stated aim of fostering a more joined-up system of working across the NHS, with GPs coordinating personalised care plans for individual patients spanning a number of different services and specialisms.
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