Opinion

To end avoidable hospital admissions prevention is the key

In the House of Lords, John Bird highlights how social enterprises providing social care could help unlock the NHS admissions crisis

John Bird introduces the Creditworthiness Assessment Bill in the House of Lords

Big Issue founder John Bird has highlighted in the House of Lords how social enterprises that provide social care can help to prevent pressure piling up on the NHS because of unnecessary emergency admissions.

In an Oral Question in the House of Lords yesterday (Wednesday) Baron Bird, who is a crossbench peer, pointed out that recent figures from the National Audit Office showed one-quarter of emergency admissions to hospital are avoidable, and could be dealt with through community care before it becomes an issue for the NHS to sort out.

He said: “The recent report of the National Audit Office stated that nearly 25 per cent of people who go into hospital do so in an avoidable situation, which could be sorted out in the community. This is a clear case of why we need more prevention.

“What extra thinking and resources will the Government bring into the community so that we do not have the ridiculous situation of such people going into hospital, where we have the problem of a shortage of nurses and all the other things that knock on?”

Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, responded: “The noble Lord makes an important point. It was good to study the report and the noble Lord is right about avoidable hospital admissions.

“Two changes are happening. One is GP extended access, which now has 95 per cent coverage across [England] – that is, evenings, weekends and so on – as primary care. We also have interesting results coming from the new models of care programme.

“I highlight one that is happening in mid-Nottinghamshire. It is called PRISM and it is a virtual ward for at-risk patients which enables multidisciplinary teams to look at vulnerable people before they come to hospital. It has reduced A&E attendance for those aged over 80 by 17 per cent, which is significant. It is precisely this kind of thing that will make the difference that we need.”

*

Baron Bird has been a vocal advocate for prevention to reduce the need for emergency care – “a fence at the top of the cliff rather than an ambulance at the bottom”. And Big Issue Invest, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, helps support social enterprises that provide care and support in the community, including Sandwell Community Caring Trust, which saved its health authority £2.3 million in the last year alone, and Spiral Health Community Interest Company, which delivers a range of services in Lancashire including intermediate care and rehabilitation that help keep people out of acute hospital settings.

Read more about social care organisations supported by Big Issue Invest here.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Four million Brits struggle with problem debt. Now's the time for the next government to step up
debt
Vikki Brownridge

Four million Brits struggle with problem debt. Now's the time for the next government to step up

My child was awarded disability benefits after five years of fighting. Why don't I feel victorious?
disability benefits/ mother and child
Cathy Reay

My child was awarded disability benefits after five years of fighting. Why don't I feel victorious?

There's so many questions needing answers this general election it's hard to zone in on just one
Rishi Sunak calling a July 4 general election on May 22
Paul McNamee

There's so many questions needing answers this general election it's hard to zone in on just one

This government failed to end rough sleeping – so now they're trying to police it out of existence
The Criminal Justice Bill criminalises rough sleeping
Tom Kerridge

This government failed to end rough sleeping – so now they're trying to police it out of existence

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know