The Norfolk and Waveney STP conducted a “Demand and Capacity Review” which sets out in more detail the major challenges facing our NHS and social care.
- A growing and ageing population
- Primary care working to capacity, with a shrinking GP workforce
- Acute inpatient bed capacity cannot meet demand
- Community services cannot meet demand from acutes
- Social care and home care capacity is not keeping up with demand
- The system has significant financial challenges.
The review involved all providers and commissioners of services and, whilst the overall picture has always been known, this is the first time the health and care system in Norfolk and Waveney has undertaken such a significant and detailed piece of work.
It acknowledges there are many changes already being made to build in more capacity and improve services for patients, such as developing new “Primary Care Networks” where many physical and mental health services would be joined together in the community.
But it says even with all of the many plans in place to find better ways of delivering services, Norfolk and Waveney would still face a “deficit” of 140 acute hospital beds in the years to come. This is why it urges health and care leaders across all of the organisations in Norfolk and Waveney to work ever closer together, deliver further efficiencies and maintain or improve services for local people.
The Independent Chair of the Norfolk and Waveney STP, Patricia Hewitt, said: “This comprehensive report shows that we have a real opportunity to transform the way the NHS works by strengthening GP practices, integrating community services, mental health and social care around the patient and reducing waste and duplication across the system.
“That way we can keep people safe and well at home, reduce emergency admissions and ensure our three acute hospitals focus on the patients who can only be treated in hospital. We can improve services for the people of Norfolk and Waveney and we can make the whole system sustainable.”
Colleagues in Norfolk and Waveney’s health and care organisations are discussing further what the most essential priorities are and will plan what steps need to be taken.