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Leading clinicians ‘horrified’ as NHSE slashes community funding without warning

Senior medics have reacted in horror to NHS England’s decision to ‘dramatically’ cut the funding of a key long-term plan commitment designed to improve older people’s community services and deliver more care at home.

British Geriatrics Society president Jennifer Burns told HSJ the professional body was “horrified” that the budget for the Ageing Well programme for 2022-23 would be £70m instead of the £204m originally promised in the long-term plan for the NHS.

“We are dismayed that the promised funding for the Ageing Well programme as set out in the NHS long-term plan is being so dramatically cut at this time,” Dr Burns said.

NHSE said: “The NHS is also investing an additional £200m in funding for virtual wards across the country by March 2023, delivering more care to patients safely in the comfort of their own home which will directly benefit older patients.”

But Dr Burns said that although virtual wards would go “some way to helping with hospital admissions”, they were “no substitute” for the original commitments.

“Older people suffered a devastating toll during the pandemic. Now is the time for systems to ensure the right services are in place and there is sustainable planning for the healthcare needs of an ageing population.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 7 April 2022


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