One of the government’s most influential health advisers has said
primary care trusts will need to hand over NHS money to social
services departments to help tackle wider public health
Dr David Colin-Thom’, national clinical director for primary care
at the Department of Health, said it was time for PCTs to start
“being bold and say some health service money has to go in [social
services’] direction rather than just being spent on clinical
Speaking last week at a conference on long-term conditions,
Colin-Thom’ said the government wanted to tackle the small number
of people with chronic health conditions who accounted for a
substantial number of admissions to hospital by identifying them
earlier so they could be treated before problems became more
serious. This would increasingly require social services
departments’ involvement at a time when they have rising demands on
their budgets, he added.
“We have got stacks of money in the health service – much more than
in social care – so maybe we need to move some of this into older
people, children’s and mental health services,” he said.
His comments appear to reflect a growing realisation among health
professionals that many of the NHS’s broader targets, particularly
around tackling long-term conditions and delayed discharge from
hospital, are dependent on there being better preventive and
domiciliary care services in the community.
Gary Belfield, head of primary care and policy lead in chronic
disease at the DoH, is leading a project at the department which
aims to cut emergency in-patient hospital admissions by 5 per cent
by 2008 – equivalent to 12 per cent in real terms or 5,700 beds.
“The health service has talked a lot about working with social
services, but unless we really bring them into this, we won’t
achieve what we want to achieve with it,” he added.