Kath Evans, head of planning delivery and programme lead for the Hospital to Home (H2H) programme explains why the relaunch of the Improving Health and Care through the home: A National Memorandum of Understanding is so important for the health and social care sector.
The H2H programme, works with partners providing national leadership to ensure that urgent and emergency care services in the community are as safe, effective and coordinated as possible. We have a focus on:-
- strengthening the partnership between health and social care;
- support improved hospital discharge;
- enhanced health in care homes;
- increased access to care and support at home and in the community to reduce unnecessary hospital attendances and admissions.
This week the Improving Health and Care through the home: A National Memorandum of Understanding was relaunched. Government departments and organisations from across the health, social care, and housing systems have come together to recognise the key role of housing and reaffirm their commitment to work together. This is one of the main pieces of work H2H have been involved with and it shows the commitment of NHS England to improving everyone’s health through ensuring that all have the right home environment.
It was first launched in 2014 and this renewed version sets out why organisations need to continue to strengthen partnerships across government, housing, health and social care. It reflects on the success of previous commitments and commits all signatories to build on these successes to ensure more collaborative working across housing, health and social care to positively impact on the people using health and care services. It is co-signed by NHS England and 25 other organisations including Department of Health and Social Care Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Another piece of work in the H2H programme is leading on is the Acute Provider Engagement Programme for Health and Housing. The aim of the programme is to demonstrate how housing can support the NHS through engaging local housing sectors with their local clinical commissioning group, local authority and NHS trust to improve hospital discharge, improve patient experience and reduce readmissions.
Housing is a key element in a person’s care. It is estimated that poor housing costs the NHS £1.4 billion every year. Having the right home environment can improve health both physical and mental, can speed up a person’s recovery and can prevent readmission to hospital. I am pleased that housing is getting the acknowledgment it deserves, the introduction of a Minister for Housing to MHCLG is a positive step forward and as long as government, housing, health and social care continue to work collaboratively we can aim to ensure people have a long and healthy life in their own home.