Steve Tope, Business Development Director of Tunstall Healthcare talks about why we need to look at health, housing and care as a whole.

The greatest challenges facing the NHS and social care currently are around increasing demand and decreasing budgets, and with an ageing population under the current model, more people are requiring acute care services, needing more beds, doctors and resources – and this week the Nuffield Trust published a report concerning the additional demand of British expats who could return to the UK for health and social care when Brexit comes into effect – unless a deal can be done to let them maintain receiving the care they need abroad.

Striking the right balance of health and social care
Everyone, at different points in their lives will require health and care services. Healthcare can vary from primary care such as GPs and dentists; to acute care requiring specialists and hospital stays. Regardless of age or condition of health, everyone will need some balance of support, which is why I believe that Connected Healthcare is so important. We need to strike the right balance between health and social care.

Currently, in certain parts of the country we have a siloed way of thinking when it comes to the NHS and social care sector. Each has their own budget and pathways, and it’s far too easy for people to fall through the gaps. Acute care tends to be the costliest, with beds, resources and doctors under increasing pressure – so we need to be focusing our efforts on preventing admissions into hospitals and keeping healthcare in the home for as long as possible, reducing total costs and ensuring that individuals are living as independently as possible.

This is where the holistic view comes in, recognising that the pathway to acute care is a continuum of different needs, therefore not just joining up the health and social care, but housing too – is essential to providing the right package of care and support.

We are starting to see the movement towards a holistic, joined up approach to health, housing and social care in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and with the increasing pressures on the NHS and social care system things do need to change. Connected Healthcare can be instrumental to this change, providing support for individuals and their carer; allowing people to live at home for longer, as well as preventing admissions, and supporting hospital discharge – Connected Healthcare is a huge opportunity for our health, housing and social care.