Demographic changes, technological advances and the changing pattern of disease are pushing up the numbers of patients with complex needs who require treatment in the community. But outside hospital, the resources and expertise are often not available to treat them, and patient care can be disjointed as different parts of the system fail to understand each other. In response, consultants in some areas of England are developing services that link secondary, primary, community and social care professionals.
The King’s Fund visited six services where consultants are delivering or facilitating care outside hospital. This report presents the findings from those visits as case studies. It identifies key characteristics and challenges to this way of working and seeks out evidence of the benefits to patients and the NHS more broadly.