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Meeting the needs of older people

The National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care discusses the crucial importance of the NHS RightCare Frailty Toolkit published today:

Following publication of the NHS Long Term Plan in January 2019, which announced a significant change of emphasis towards developing primary and community services, we are now nationally driving changes focused on improving the care offer the NHS makes to older people in their homes and communities.

In doing so we are targeting investment over the next five years specifically on three linked community delivered services all of which are designed to support older people as part of a national Ageing Well Programme.

The clear intent is for us to provide services to people which meet their needs and which makes sense to them so that they get the care they need at the right time and in the right place.

The offer comprises a proactive approach to supporting people living with frailty, enhancing health support in all care homes, and providing urgent community care responses to both reduce the need for people to receive care in hospital and to support them to leave hospital earlier when they are well enough to return to their communities.

All of these services exist somewhere right now but they are not universal and using the right data intelligence we can go much further, much quicker if we help local commissioners make the right decisions and plans which meet the needs of their local populations.

The NHS Long Term Plan provides a unique opportunity and a national blueprint to improve and develop the services we have in place now and to target new investments in ways that can make a real difference to people. To achieve our national ambitions the real differences will be made and felt by people in local communities right across the country.

This is where the NHS RightCare Frailty Toolkit is of crucial importance. By highlighting to commissioners where they have opportunities to improve their local services, we intend that all older people are provided with the best value healthcare and supported to age well wherever they live.

These tools will be invaluable in helping local teams to develop, improve and deliver 21st century health care services using state of the art, data driven intelligence.

Martin Vernon

Professor Martin Vernon was appointed National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care at NHS England in 2016.

He qualified in 1988 in Manchester and following training in the North West he moved to East London to train in Geriatric Medicine where he also acquired an MA in Medical Ethics and Law from King’s College. He returned to Manchester in 1999 to take up post as Consultant Geriatrician building community geriatrics services in South Manchester.

Martin was Associate Medical Director for NHS Manchester in 2010 and more recently Clinical Champion for frail older people and integrated care In Greater Manchester. He has been the British Geriatrics Society Champion for End of Life Care for five years and was a standing member of the NICE Indicators Committee.

In 2015 Martin moved to Central Manchester where he is Consultant Geriatrician and Associate Head of Division for Medicine and Community Services. He also holds Honorary Academic Posts at Manchester and Salford Universities and was appointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Chester in 2016.

In 2017 he became Chair of the NHS England Hospital to Home Programme Board and is working on National Frailty Care with NHS Improvement.

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