Nursing homes can alleviate pressure on NHS, says RNHA

Posted on 11 October 2011

Nursing homes have the skills and expertise to deliver long term care for the elder that the NHS lacks, the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) has said.

Recently, Royal College of Nursing general secretary Peter Carter courted controversy after suggesting that relatives should help to look after patients in the elderly care wards of NHS hospitals.

Responding to the media furore over Mr Carter's comments, RHNA chief executive officer Frank Ursell said the NHS has gradually moved away from long term care plans over the past two decades, meaning it is "not surprising" that essential caring skills are being eroded.

"That is not the fault of the nurses. Rather, it is the inevitable consequence of the NHS concentrating on other priorities," he said.

"Meanwhile, nursing homes have grown accustomed to caring for older people who are admitted with an increasingly varied mix of complex, chronic conditions."

Mr Ursell called for stronger partnerships to be made between NHS hospitals and local nursing homes where people are paying for care, saying both sectors have much to learn from one another.

"We believe we have skills and techniques that we could usefully pass on to our acute hospital colleagues," he explained.

"Equally, acute hospitals have concentrated expertise in specialist areas of healthcare that they could usefully share with us."

A greater degree of cooperation would alleviate pressure on hospital beds and improve the quality of care received by those who need it most, Mr Ursell concluded.

Meanwhile, the RNHA has said the registration and inspection fees charged to nursing homes by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are unfair when compared with the same fees it charges large NHS hospitals.

The association complained that the fees are "disproportionate" and that a hoped-for adjustment of the CQC's fee structure next April looks unlikely to materialise.

Posted by Toby Mynott


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