Closer working between the NHS and social care can result in cost savings, a pilot scheme has discovered.
The trial project in Sutton, south London, corralled GPs in the area as well as the primary care trust and local authority.
The six-month initiative looked at treatment of 25,000 patients with heart failure or chronic pulmonary conditions, and found that hospital admissions had been reduced by a substantial level.
The savings equated to £250,000 if the benefits were spread out to other practices in the area, the council said.
Sutton Council's adult social services and health executive Colin Stears said: "We believe that the benefits of this pilot are so compelling it has the potential to become a national template. But on top of that, it made a real difference to the everyday lives of many patients. They were able to enjoy the security and independence of receiving treatment in their own homes."
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"Definitely, Community is the best setting for patients to recover also to know they still have independence with support and care in the comfort of their own home, all too often patients are admitted to secondary care with initial diagnosis only to be told they have contracted a second diagnosis whilst on the ward which then results in even longer stays!" – Tracy, Leeds