Home Group argues for more integrated health at party conference event

The UK’s largest care and support provider says new models of integrated health and housing care alongside increased engagement with external partners, will play a pivotal role in delivering the savings the NHS has to find in the coming years.

That was the message from Rachael Byrne, executive director of care and support for Home Group, who was speaking on 6th October at a roundtable debate about the future of health and social care, attended by some of the sector’s biggest names.

Rachael Byrne was at the Conservative Party conference event, which saw Minister of State for Care Alistair Burt MP and Shadow Health Spokesperson Lord Hunt engage in debate with guests.

The ‘Making it happen: health, social care and devolution in the new Parliament’ roundtable, chaired by non-political think tank Reform, examined ways in which providers can work with and support the health and social care sectors in the future.

Rachael Byrne said:

“Over the next five years, the NHS faces a funding shortfall of £22 billion, so it has to make some substantial efficiencies and it’s clear they can’t do it alone.

“A future NHS can only be sustainable if it looks outwards to new models of care and engages more and more with external partners providing integrated health solutions.

“This has to involve the care sector, especially those who also provide housing. A focus on prevention rather than cure will save money and partnering with organisations, such as housing providers, which play a part in people’s everyday lives, will help the NHS to start making those savings.”

Those who attended the event on Tuesday included representatives from Scope, Royal College of Nursing, Mencap, The Nuffield Trust, Age UK, NHS Confederation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation among others.

Rachael Byrne argued that further integration of housing health and care will deliver long term, and highlighted St Bede’s and Gateshead Learning Disability Service and Driffield LD Service as examples of the benefits the approach brings.

There, assisted work placement schemes and initiatives to raise education standards among other measures are designed to help dozens of vulnerable people with registered care needs improve their well-being and life skills.

She added:

“We are a solutions provider for the NHS, delivering the cost savings, efficiencies and improved productivity to ensure this country has the health care it needs and demands.

“We are working to ensure that people get the support they need early on, preventing them from developing complex issues themselves and helping them to lead healthy, independent lives.”

Home Group is calling for a sustainable funding settlement in November’s Comprehensive Spending Review to deliver preventative impact, addressing people’s needs before they reach crisis point and the onset of more complex health and care needs.

The organisation’s care and support division Stonham currently delivers more than 500 supported housing, health and justice services helping more than 30,000 people each year. Home Group provides more than 55,000 homes to 120,000 people in 200 local authorities.