Local hospitals

We want to ensure local hospitals provide the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time.

The concept of a ‘local hospital’ was a key element of Healthcare for London‘s plans for improved healthcare in the capital.

The majority of care will be provided in five settings: home, polyclinics, local hospitals, major acute hospitals and specialist hospitals. A local hospital is where most people will receive acute (hospital) treatment; whether it is a 3am visit to the A&E department, the birth of a first child, or emergency surgery on a fractured hip.

In July 2007, after wide-ranging discussions with patients and NHS staff, Lord Darzi produced Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action ( http://www.londonprogrammes.nhs.uk/healthcare-for-london/a-framework-for-action/). This report was a blueprint for improving health services in the capital and highlighted the need to evolve NHS services.

Key recommendations included offering increased specialist care for the most seriously ill, and an emphasis on more community-based care, such as the introduction of polyclinics.

The report proposed that while ‘local hospitals’ should continue to provide the majority of hospital care, they must evolve within the changing NHS landscape.

From these proposals the Healthcare for London programme produced a report ( http://www.londonprogrammes.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Local-Hospital-Model-for-London-Report.pdf) showing how a local hospital could operate in the context of these wider changes. The report tests the future local hospital model, with input and challenge from clinical staff in four London hospital trusts.

The report concludes that the future local hospital model offers significant advantages for the quality of care for local populations, including better clinical outcomes (such as successful treatment and survival rates) and improved patient safety. With careful planning and implementation the model is also shown to be financially viable.

The report offers guidance for PCTs and hospital trusts on how to manage this transition and ensure this is factored into their long-term strategic plans.