The Acute Frailty Network (AFN) was a scheme run in England by NHS Elect, using an approach called Quality Improvement Collaboratives (QICs), to help trusts implement principles of Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) as part of their acute pathway. In July 2023, Street et al published a paper in BMJ Quality and Safety analysing the impact of the AFN which concluded that there was no difference in length of hospital stay, in-hospital mortality, institutionalisation and hospital readmission between organisations that took part in AFN and those that did not.
This article outlines the position of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) on the paper, addressing why it thinks that focusing on older people’s healthcare is more important than ever. It highlights the importance of ensuring that the paper's findings are not used as a reason to abandon efforts to improve acute frailty care. Rather, they should be seen as a call to redouble efforts to identify and overcome the barriers to delivering CGA in acute settings.