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NHS must focus on home care for the elderly - nursing chief

The NHS needs to spend more money looking after people in their own homes rather than in hospital, the Chief Nursing Officer for England has warned.

Jane Cummings of NHS England said too much cash was being pumped into caring for patients in "old and expensive" hospitals, rather in a more efficient domiciliary setting.

In a letter to the Telegraph, Ms Cummings said a greater emphasis on home care would result in a service that was better catered to a patient's individual needs.

She said: "With more care provided at home, the NHS can spend more cash on patients rather than maintaining old and expensive buildings.

"And more people can be better looked after, with care personalised to their needs."

She said refocusing the spending priorities towards domiciliary care would be "controversial", but were necessary for the benefit of patients.

In her letter, she said: "Whatever the merits of these plans, choices like these will always be controversial because we are talking about changes to strongly-supported services that have served communities well for years.

"So this is not a moment to sit on our hands, nor to instigate big-bang changes. What we need is decisive but well-debated, locally owned improvements, doing things for which nurses, doctors and other health and care workers have argued for years."

She said there was a real nee d to change "outdated models of care" so that patients "don't fall into the cracks between different parts of the system and ensuring that we provide care based around their needs, and not those of NHS organisations".

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