The British Geriatrics Society’s ‘Position Statement on Primary Care for Older People’ published at the end of August calls for more care and treatment to be delivered in the community to better meet the needs of our ageing population, and urges the Government to build this into the long term plans for the NHS.
The BGS statement highlights the potential for significant benefits to be realised by enabling more older people with frailty to receive the care they need as close as home to as possible. This significant shift in the delivery of healthcare and treatment for older people will support identification of those most at risk of frailty and other serious health issues at an earlier stage. Ensuring greater availability of geriatricians’ time in community settings, and offering Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment by community-based multidisciplinary teams, is a key way of strengthening the services that older people access through primary care. Early identification of older people with frailty in primary care settings enables them to be better supported, monitored and treated, and reduces the risk of experiencing a series of unplanned adverse health events. Identifying people with frailty earlier will also create an increasingly strong evidence-base to inform service design and planning , and to adapt health interventions to better meet individual need and provide genuinely person-centred care.
Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:
“We need a clear strategic focus on prevention, optimising independence and delivering better health outcomes for older people. Building in sufficient flexibility to deal with fluctuating levels of need and delivering services closer to where people live is a change that we have to meet. To do this we urgently need increased financial investment at the same time as system reform. We call for Government’s Long Term Plan for the NHS, due to be published this autumn, to address the need for a fundamental shift in the way we deliver healthcare for older people”