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Transfer of NHS hospital care into the community may not save costs

A group from Bradford's St Luke's Hospital, gauged the cost-benefit of shifting the responsibility of caring for patients from the NHS hospital into the community, and said that there was no major economic savings in such a move. //

Indeed cost savings has been the driving force behind the idea of such a shift, but it became clear after studying the costs of rehabilitating 220 senior patients, recouping from illness, that there were not many savings worthy of mention.

The figures produced by the analysis showed that cost of the treatment in community hospitals was £7,233 on an average as against £7,351 in the district general hospital.

Researcher John Green said: "It raises some interesting questions, showing there is no significant cost saving with community treatment. However, this is just one type of treatment, and there may be different results for other patients."

Jonathan Fielden, chairman of the British Medical Association's consultants committee, said: "The government has over hyped the cost benefits of treating people in the community. It is not always the cheaper options, mental health patients are an example of this. What we shouldn't do is have a headlong rush into pushing everything into the community, in some cases it will be for the best. We have to weigh up the options carefully, including the destabilizing impact it will have on the hospital sector."


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