‘The NHS long term plan promises better care closer to home but our hospitals must not be left behind’ says British Geriatrics Society’s President

07 January 2019

Professor Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, today welcomed the NHS long term plan. Older people have better health outcomes when they receive treatment closer to home, and the NHS long term plan shows a strong commitment to making this a reality for older people. The BGS fully supports its aim of delivering fully integrated community-based healthcare.

Although Professor Masud applauded the increased delivery of healthcare in community and primary care settings, he also cautioned that this should not be to the detriment of hospital-based care. He warned that sufficient resources must be allocated to hospitals where older people are best treated when they have a health crisis. The challenges of meeting the needs our ageing population requires that older people have access to quality healthcare regardless of the setting, and this includes hospitals. However he did welcome the commitment to ensuring that multidisciplinary teams are providing access to comprehensive geriatric assessments in A&E, and preventing delayed transfers of care.

The successful delivery of the NHS long term plan is dependent upon an equally robust workforce implementation plan. A more flexible workforce strategy that allows for co-location in acute and primary settings, and an increase in the number of specialists in older people’s healthcare is still needed.  

An additional challenge to the successful implementation of the long term plan is the continuing need for a fully integrated service model which ends the divide between health and social care. Although the long term plan has the potential to help end the divides between primary, intermediate and hospital care, a strategic approach to ensuring continuity across health and social care services is still urgently needed, together with a financially sustainable approach to social care. 

Professor Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

“The British Geriatrics Society has been calling for multidisciplinary teams to be embedded in primary care and for more services to be available closer to where older people live. We warmly welcome those aspects of the plan that will help to make this a reality. However, we believe the full benefits of the plan can only be realised with sufficient investment in the workforce in all settings, and urgent investment to ensure sufficient capacity exists in social care.”