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'Care closer to home' stalls as hospital income rises

By Nigel Praities

There has been 'no shift from hospitals to care closer to home', with GP productivity savings being engulfed in a rising tide of costs from secondary care, a report from the Audit Commission concludes.

The report found the cost of primary care rose by 4% in 2008/09 compared with the previous year, while hospital costs rose by over 7% over the same period.

The report says the figures show PCTs are failing to shift investment in services from hospitals into the community.

Inpatient and day case activity continued to rise this financial year, with a 4% rise in the cash paid under payment by results.

The statistics come weeks after figures from the NHS Information Centre revealed hospital prescribing made up a rising percentage of the £112bn NHS drugs bill, accounting for 29% of the total cost in 2008, compared with 26% in 2007.

The Audit Commission said foundation trusts saw the largest increases in cash flow, with a 8% increase in income in 2008/09 compared with the previous year. This compares with a 6% rise for non-foundation trusts.

‘The national figures for 2008/09 suggest that there was no shift from hospitals to care closer to home in the community; either in terms of investment or activity,' the report reads.

‘These trends seem to be continuing into 2009/10 with inpatient and day case activity continuing to grow at the same rate, largely fuelled by less complex cases.'

The report found there had been 'no shift from hospitals to care closer to home' The report found there had been 'no shift from hospitals to care closer to home'

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