Commons Health Committee Publishes Report on Long Term Conditions (July 2014)

The House of Commons Health Committee has published its report into long-term conditions following a lengthy inquiry. The report detailed contributions made by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) below:

There is evidence to indicate that poorly-planned changes to service mix have not in the past had the desired effect. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) reported that some dermatology outpatients services had been decommissioned, to be replaced by community-based services which provided care closer to home for dermatology patients. However the expected improvements in service provision had not been realised and there had been increased referrals to both community and acute services. BAD feared that changes in commissioning arrangements and the introduction of commissioning from “any qualified provider” had resulted in the “fracturing” of care pathways. This had meant that there was no net reduction in the cost of treatment when compared to acute care: in fact overall costs increased because patients were often “lost” in referrals from their GP to a community care service. BAD was also concerned that primary care services were “buckling” under current levels of demand.’

The report went on to say that the ‘Care Closer to Home’ agenda should not be taken to such an extreme that it dominates the redesign of clinical services and pathways.  Acknowledging a concern that the APPGS has expressed before on several occasions the report states that:

‘While the prevailing assumption may be that people with long-term conditions would welcome treatment being provided through community or primary care as close to home as possible, this approach should not be taken for granted in the design of systems to support the management of long-term conditions. Many conditions will continue to require treatment to be provided being provided in specialised secondary care settings.’

The full report can be found here.