BGS responds to long-awaited publication of proactive care guidance
The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) is pleased to see that the long-awaited guidance on proactive care, 'Providing care and support for people living at home with moderate or severe frailty', has been published by NHS England today.
We welcome the focus of this guidance on people living at home with moderate or severe frailty, for whom the right support from health and social care professionals, voluntary sector agencies and neighbourhood teams can help to delay further development of their frailty. Frailty affects 1 in 10 over the age of 65 and up to half of the population over 85 and it is these groups who are most likely to benefit from proactive care. Many people with frailty will also be living with other long-term conditions, which makes the focus on providing holistic assessment in this guidance very welcome.
However, we remain disappointed that the initial promised funding for this work was cut and has not been reinstated. Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are struggling with the many commitments they are required to fund. As the recent report from the Chief Medical Officer pointed out, maximising the health and life chances of older people should be considered a national priority. Upstream action to support healthy ageing and proactive care for frailty should be part of the Government’s overall public health strategy with additional funding provided. We urge the Government to allocate funding to allow systems to roll out proactive care. Effective implementation of proactive care will save the NHS money in the long term as it will help older people to remain well without needing costly hospital care.
Professor Adam Gordon, President of the British Geriatrics Society, said:
Proactive care is essential to identifying individuals at risk of deterioration and taking preventative action to help them to remain well for longer. As the guidance sets out, effective implementation of proactive care should reduce the demand for unplanned healthcare, including emergency admission to hospital. We are grateful to NHS England for their significant work in bringing this framework forward despite pressures across the system. However, the document is very light on detail and evidence. Colleagues across the country will need to work hard with commissioners and system leaders to enable sustainable implementation. The BGS Blueprint ‘Joining the Dots' provides evidence and examples of where proactive care has been effectively implemented which colleagues may find helpful for planning."