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Clinical Commissioning Groups to design housing support services

8th July 2013

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

A survey by the National Housing Federation has revealed that around 70% of GPs think that housing support services are very important for patient health, particularly for ensuring that those who live independently are living a good quality of life.

The survey comes as the NHS looks towards extending the care they provide beyond the hospital environment, reaching out to the homes of patients living with long term conditions and difficulties. On top of the 70% of GPs that believe that housing support services are crucial for safeguarding the health of patients, over 50% also believe that it can save the NHS money in the long term.

People are given the tools and support they need to continue living independently through the use of housing support services, helping people retain their independence and quality of life. A range of different services provide valuable support, including the creation of accommodation packages for those with mental health problems or dementia, and the arrangement of home adaptations to be carried out, such as the installation of quality stairlifts or a ramp.

New structures in the NHS have changed how these housing support services are organised and now Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for the spending decisions of the service. These groups are run by GPs, and other results from the survey show that 52% of GPs are unsure about how to commission and design these essential support services.

According to David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation, housing support services ensure that people are "connected to the community services they need to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions", and recent research has proven this; providing support at home to those with dementia very soon after diagnosis can lower the chance of institutionalisation by 22%. Not only do these services provide a significant amount of safety for people with health difficulties, they also help people live "active lives at home", says David Orr.

In light of the recent survey which shows that GPs who are part of CCGs are unsure of how to commission these crucial services, David Orr has said that they need to work together with housing associations in order to make sure that people get "the mix of integrated services" that are needed as our care needs change. Just as the health and social care systems are looking to become more integrated, the care environment also needs to do this, providing a complete care service whether the patient is resting at home in riser recliner chairs, seeing a doctor in a GP surgery or in hospital waiting to see a consultant.

Image Credit: Connor Tarter (flickr.com)