Tag Archives: admissions

Obesity putting strain on NHS as weight-related admissions rise

The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.

Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.

There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total in England, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.

Most of those admitted were women – 72% for obesity treatment, most often the adjustment of a gastric band fitted to reduce the capacity of the stomach, and 66% for other conditions. The numbers of men and women who are obese – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 39.9 – in England are almost identical, at 26% and 27% respectively, suggesting women may be more likely to come forward for treatment than men. More men are overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) than women – 40% against 30%.

Bariatric surgery is considered a last resort, but evidence shows it is effective in reducing weight and could save the NHS a great deal of money in the long run. Last year (2015-16), 6,760 operations were carried out, which is 5% higher than the year before, but 23% lower than at the peak in 2011-12. Some hospital trusts carry out far more procedures than others: Telford and Wrekin did the most, at 53 per 100,000 of the population.

Data from the OECD shows that the UK is still one of the most obese countries in the world. It has the sixth highest levels after the US on 38%, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia. South Korea and Japan are at the bottom of the OECD table.

Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006-7. Last year 10% of children starting school in the reception year were classed as obese, a slight decrease over time. But theproportion for those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school was 20%, which is a small increase.

Children in the most deprived communities are twice as likely to be obese as those in the most affluent. In the reception year, obesity was highest in Wolverhampton at 14% and lowest in Kingston upon Thames at 5%. In Year 6, it was highest in Barking and Dagenham at 29% and lowest in Rutland at 11%.

The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two-thirds of men (66%) and 58% of women take enough exercise, while a fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.

“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Prof Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.

Labour pointed out that in 2016/17, there were nearly 616,961 admissions in NHS hospitals where obesity was a primary or secondary factor – the highest number of admissions on record– and is a 334% increase compared with 2009/10 when there were 142,219 admissions.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “These statistics reveal we still have a long way to go to tackle childhood obesity and ensure every child is given the best start in life,.”

He described the government’s obesity strategy as “watered down”.

Obesity putting strain on NHS as weight-related admissions rise

The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.

Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.

There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total in England, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.

Most of those admitted were women – 72% for obesity treatment, most often the adjustment of a gastric band fitted to reduce the capacity of the stomach, and 66% for other conditions. The numbers of men and women who are obese – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 39.9 – in England are almost identical, at 26% and 27% respectively, suggesting women may be more likely to come forward for treatment than men. More men are overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) than women – 40% against 30%.

Bariatric surgery is considered a last resort, but evidence shows it is effective in reducing weight and could save the NHS a great deal of money in the long run. Last year (2015-16), 6,760 operations were carried out, which is 5% higher than the year before, but 23% lower than at the peak in 2011-12. Some hospital trusts carry out far more procedures than others: Telford and Wrekin did the most, at 53 per 100,000 of the population.

Data from the OECD shows that the UK is still one of the most obese countries in the world. It has the sixth highest levels after the US on 38%, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia. South Korea and Japan are at the bottom of the OECD table.

Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006-7. Last year 10% of children starting school in the reception year were classed as obese, a slight decrease over time. But theproportion for those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school was 20%, which is a small increase.

Children in the most deprived communities are twice as likely to be obese as those in the most affluent. In the reception year, obesity was highest in Wolverhampton at 14% and lowest in Kingston upon Thames at 5%. In Year 6, it was highest in Barking and Dagenham at 29% and lowest in Rutland at 11%.

The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two-thirds of men (66%) and 58% of women take enough exercise, while a fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.

“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Prof Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.

Labour pointed out that in 2016/17, there were nearly 616,961 admissions in NHS hospitals where obesity was a primary or secondary factor – the highest number of admissions on record– and is a 334% increase compared with 2009/10 when there were 142,219 admissions.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “These statistics reveal we still have a long way to go to tackle childhood obesity and ensure every child is given the best start in life,.”

He described the government’s obesity strategy as “watered down”.

Obesity putting strain on NHS as weight-related admissions rise

The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.

Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.

There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total in England, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.

Most of those admitted were women – 72% for obesity treatment, most often the adjustment of a gastric band fitted to reduce the capacity of the stomach, and 66% for other conditions. The numbers of men and women who are obese – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 39.9 – in England are almost identical, at 26% and 27% respectively, suggesting women may be more likely to come forward for treatment than men. More men are overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) than women – 40% against 30%.

Bariatric surgery is considered a last resort, but evidence shows it is effective in reducing weight and could save the NHS a great deal of money in the long run. Last year (2015-16), 6,760 operations were carried out, which is 5% higher than the year before, but 23% lower than at the peak in 2011-12. Some hospital trusts carry out far more procedures than others: Telford and Wrekin did the most, at 53 per 100,000 of the population.

Data from the OECD shows that the UK is still one of the most obese countries in the world. It has the sixth highest levels after the US on 38%, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia. South Korea and Japan are at the bottom of the OECD table.

Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006-7. Last year 10% of children starting school in the reception year were classed as obese, a slight decrease over time. But theproportion for those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school was 20%, which is a small increase.

Children in the most deprived communities are twice as likely to be obese as those in the most affluent. In the reception year, obesity was highest in Wolverhampton at 14% and lowest in Kingston upon Thames at 5%. In Year 6, it was highest in Barking and Dagenham at 29% and lowest in Rutland at 11%.

The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two-thirds of men (66%) and 58% of women take enough exercise, while a fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.

“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Prof Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.

Labour pointed out that in 2016/17, there were nearly 616,961 admissions in NHS hospitals where obesity was a primary or secondary factor – the highest number of admissions on record– and is a 334% increase compared with 2009/10 when there were 142,219 admissions.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “These statistics reveal we still have a long way to go to tackle childhood obesity and ensure every child is given the best start in life,.”

He described the government’s obesity strategy as “watered down”.

Obesity putting strain on NHS as weight-related admissions rise

The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.

Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.

There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total in England, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.

Most of those admitted were women – 72% for obesity treatment, most often the adjustment of a gastric band fitted to reduce the capacity of the stomach, and 66% for other conditions. The numbers of men and women who are obese – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 39.9 – in England are almost identical, at 26% and 27% respectively, suggesting women may be more likely to come forward for treatment than men. More men are overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) than women – 40% against 30%.

Bariatric surgery is considered a last resort, but evidence shows it is effective in reducing weight and could save the NHS a great deal of money in the long run. Last year (2015-16), 6,760 operations were carried out, which is 5% higher than the year before, but 23% lower than at the peak in 2011-12. Some hospital trusts carry out far more procedures than others: Telford and Wrekin did the most, at 53 per 100,000 of the population.

Data from the OECD shows that the UK is still one of the most obese countries in the world. It has the sixth highest levels after the US on 38%, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia. South Korea and Japan are at the bottom of the OECD table.

Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006-7. Last year 10% of children starting school in the reception year were classed as obese, a slight decrease over time. But theproportion for those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school was 20%, which is a small increase.

Children in the most deprived communities are twice as likely to be obese as those in the most affluent. In the reception year, obesity was highest in Wolverhampton at 14% and lowest in Kingston upon Thames at 5%. In Year 6, it was highest in Barking and Dagenham at 29% and lowest in Rutland at 11%.

The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two-thirds of men (66%) and 58% of women take enough exercise, while a fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.

“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Prof Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.

Labour pointed out that in 2016/17, there were nearly 616,961 admissions in NHS hospitals where obesity was a primary or secondary factor – the highest number of admissions on record– and is a 334% increase compared with 2009/10 when there were 142,219 admissions.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “These statistics reveal we still have a long way to go to tackle childhood obesity and ensure every child is given the best start in life,.”

He described the government’s obesity strategy as “watered down”.

Obesity putting strain on NHS as weight-related admissions rise

The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.

Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.

There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total in England, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.

Most of those admitted were women – 72% for obesity treatment, most often the adjustment of a gastric band fitted to reduce the capacity of the stomach, and 66% for other conditions. The numbers of men and women who are obese – a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 39.9 – in England are almost identical, at 26% and 27% respectively, suggesting women may be more likely to come forward for treatment than men. More men are overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) than women – 40% against 30%.

Bariatric surgery is considered a last resort, but evidence shows it is effective in reducing weight and could save the NHS a great deal of money in the long run. Last year (2015-16), 6,760 operations were carried out, which is 5% higher than the year before, but 23% lower than at the peak in 2011-12. Some hospital trusts carry out far more procedures than others: Telford and Wrekin did the most, at 53 per 100,000 of the population.

Data from the OECD shows that the UK is still one of the most obese countries in the world. It has the sixth highest levels after the US on 38%, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia. South Korea and Japan are at the bottom of the OECD table.

Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006-7. Last year 10% of children starting school in the reception year were classed as obese, a slight decrease over time. But theproportion for those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school was 20%, which is a small increase.

Children in the most deprived communities are twice as likely to be obese as those in the most affluent. In the reception year, obesity was highest in Wolverhampton at 14% and lowest in Kingston upon Thames at 5%. In Year 6, it was highest in Barking and Dagenham at 29% and lowest in Rutland at 11%.

The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two-thirds of men (66%) and 58% of women take enough exercise, while a fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.

“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Prof Russell Viner, the president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.

Labour pointed out that in 2016/17, there were nearly 616,961 admissions in NHS hospitals where obesity was a primary or secondary factor – the highest number of admissions on record– and is a 334% increase compared with 2009/10 when there were 142,219 admissions.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said: “These statistics reveal we still have a long way to go to tackle childhood obesity and ensure every child is given the best start in life,.”

He described the government’s obesity strategy as “watered down”.

Obesity putting strain on NHS as weight-related admissions rise

The toll taken by obesity on the NHS is increasing, as more people are admitted to hospital with heart conditions, gallstones or needing hip and knee replacements related to their weight.

Data from NHS Digital shows an 18% increase in admissions in the last year either for obesity treatment – usually stomach-reducing surgery – or conditions caused or complicated by obesity, such as heart disease or pregnancy.

There were 617,000 obesity-related admissions in total, of which 10,705 were directly for obesity treatment such as bariatric surgery. The most common problem caused or worsened by obesity was wear and tear of the knee joints, followed by the admission of women where the pregnancy had become risky because of weight.

Most of those admitted were women – 72% for obesity treatment, most often the adjustment of a gastric band fitted to reduce the capacity of the stomach, and 66% for other conditions. The numbers of men and women who are obese (a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 39.9) in England are almost identical, at 26% and 27% respectively, suggesting women may be more likely to come forward for treatment than men. More men are overweight (a BMI of 25 to 29.9) than women – 40% against 30%.

Bariatric surgery is considered a last resort, but evidence shows it is effective in reducing weight and could save the NHS a great deal of money in the long run. Last year (2015/16), 6,760 operations were carried out, which is 5% higher than the year before but 23% lower than at the peak in 2011/12. Some hospital trusts carry out far more procedures than others: Telford and Wrekin did the most, at 53 per 100,000 of the population.

Data from the OECD shows that the UK is still one of the most obese countries in the world. It has the sixth highest levels after the USA on 38%, Mexico, New Zealand, Hungary and Australia. Korea and Japan are at the bottom of the OECD table.

Childhood obesity has not shifted very much since the school measurement programme was introduced in 2006/7. Last year it was 10% of children starting school in the reception year, a slight decrease over time, but 20% of those leaving in Year 6 for secondary school, which is a small increase.

Children in the most deprived communities are twice as likely to be obese as those in the most affluent. In the reception year, obesity was highest in Wolverhampton at 14% and lowest in Kingston upon Thames at 5%. In Year 6, it was highest in Barking and Dagenham at 29% and lowest in Rutland at 11%.

The data shows that few people eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day – 26% of adults and 16% of children. Two thirds of men – 66% – and 58% of women take enough exercise. A fifth of men and a quarter of women are classed as inactive.

“These latest figures reinforce the urgency with which we need to tackle obesity in childhood in order to reduce the strain on an individual’s health, as well as health services, later in life,” said Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

“We know that obese children are likely to go on to be obese in adulthood, which can result in serious conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The increase in hospital admissions directly attributed to obesity is an indicator that this impact is already being seen.

Labour pointed out that the increase in obesity-related hospital treatment was 818% in a decade, from 67,211 admissions in 2006/07.

“These statistics reveal we still have a long way to go to tackle childhood obesity and ensure every child is given the best start in life,” said Jonathan Ashworth MP, the shadow health secretary, criticising the government’s “watered down” obesity strategy.

GP visits to care homes reduce hospital admissions by nearly 40%

When Mary Mills had a mini stroke and broke her hip and leg, following two successive bad falls last year, she decided to move into a nursing home. Since November, Mills, 74, has been resident at Willows Care Home in Romford, east London. Due to her ongoing health needs, Mills needs regular appointments with her GP, Dr Muna Sheikh. But she does not have to be taken to the surgery or wait weeks to be seen.

Willows is one of four nursing homes across the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge taking part in a £400,000 pilot scheme. Jointly funded by the prime minister’s challenge fund (which awarded £50m to 20 pilot projects in England to improve access to general practice) and the local clinical commissioning groups, Health 1000 is a dedicated primary care practice providing 431 residents of the homes with 8am to 8pm, seven-days-a-week GP support, as well as training and advice for staff and help from a consultant geriatrician.


This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense

Crucially, the nursing homes are allocated a GP, directly employed by Health 1000, who visits the home each week. This is far from normal practice. Often, care home residents are registered with different GP practices, which do not always come out to care homes, or only provide phone consultations. In a review of the sector in 2012, the Care Quality Commission found only 38% of care homes had regular visits from GPs.

At Willows, where Sheikh spends every Friday morning, Mills says the regular contact is fantastic. “I’ve had quite a few things wrong with me,” she says. “Even if there is nothing wrong, she sometimes pops in to say hello. And I only have to say to the nurse that I want to see her and she comes.”

It is not just patients like Mills who are seeing the benefits. A new evaluation published on Wednesday by the health thinktank the Nuffield Trust found that in the three years to 2017 the scheme resulted in a 36% reduction in emergency admissions to hospital, and emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%. These reductions in admissions are valued at up to £1,000 per patient per year.

Doctor holding patient’s hand in hospital


In the three years to 2017 emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%. Photograph: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images/Blend Images

The findings are especially striking, Nuffield Trust says, given that care home residents have between 40% and 50% more emergency admissions to hospital than the general population aged over 75. “One interesting thing about evaluating different schemes for keeping people out of hospital is it is rare to find such a big effect,” says Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust. “There are four times more people in beds in care homes than there are in hospital, so it is a very big part of the health and social care systems. It’s easy to say, well, they are in a nursing home so we don’t need to worry, but this scheme turns that on its head.”

One reason for the scheme’s success is that doctors such as Sheikh are able to really get to know patients and care home staff, meaning problems are often discussed before they escalate. “This kind of conversation is only possible because we have dedicated time in each nursing home,” says Sheikh.

Sheikh says the scheme has changed how she views her own job, after the wife of one of her patients who had dementia told the GP more about his personality when they were drawing up his end-of-life plan. “It made me realise the person I was treating was a human being who had a life and not just an advanced dementia patient who would never cooperate and would swear all the time,” she says. “Looking beyond that facade really made me think of how I could reach out more.”

Following the success of the pilot scheme, Jagan John, director of Health 1000, says preparations are under way to roll it out to all 39 nursing homes in the three boroughs, and other CCGs including Hertfordshire have shown an interest in replicating the model. “This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense,” he says.

Back in her room at Willows, Mills can’t praise the scheme enough. “When I was in my own home, it was often so difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and I didn’t always get the same doctor, which made me feel awkward,” she says. “I’ve had better care from Muna than any GP before.”

GP visits to care homes reduce hospital admissions by nearly 40%

When Mary Mills had a mini stroke and broke her hip and leg, following two successive bad falls last year, she decided to move into a nursing home. Since November, Mills, 74, has been resident at Willows Care Home in Romford, east London. Due to her ongoing health needs, Mills needs regular appointments with her GP, Dr Muna Sheikh. But she does not have to be taken to the surgery or wait weeks to be seen.

Willows is one of four nursing homes across the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge taking part in a £400,000 pilot scheme. Jointly funded by the prime minister’s challenge fund (which awarded £50m to 20 pilot projects in England to improve access to general practice) and the local clinical commissioning groups, Health 1000 is a dedicated primary care practice providing 431 residents of the homes with 8am to 8pm, seven-days-a-week GP support, as well as training and advice for staff and help from a consultant geriatrician.


This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense

Crucially, the nursing homes are allocated a GP, directly employed by Health 1000, who visits the home each week. This is far from normal practice. Often, care home residents are registered with different GP practices, which do not always come out to care homes, or only provide phone consultations. In a review of the sector in 2012, the Care Quality Commission found only 38% of care homes had regular visits from GPs.

At Willows, where Sheikh spends every Friday morning, Mills says the regular contact is fantastic. “I’ve had quite a few things wrong with me,” she says. “Even if there is nothing wrong, she sometimes pops in to say hello. And I only have to say to the nurse that I want to see her and she comes.”

It is not just patients like Mills who are seeing the benefits. A new evaluation published on Wednesday by the health thinktank, the Nuffield Trust, found that in the three years to 2017 the scheme resulted in a 36% reduction in emergency admissions to hospital, and emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%, leading to estimated annual savings to the NHS of more than £1,000 a patient.

Doctor holding patient’s hand in hospital


In the three years to 2017 emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%. Photograph: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images/Blend Images

The findings are especially striking, Nuffield Trust says, given that care home residents have between 40% and 50% more emergency admissions to hospital than the general population aged over 75. “One interesting thing about evaluating different schemes for keeping people out of hospital is it is rare to find such a big effect,” says Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust. “There are four times more people in beds in care homes than there are in hospital, so it is a very big part of the health and social care systems. It’s easy to say, well, they are in a nursing home so we don’t need to worry, but this scheme turns that on its head.”

One reason for the scheme’s success is that doctors such as Sheikh are able to really get to know patients and care home staff, meaning problems are often discussed before they escalate. “This kind of conversation is only possible because we have dedicated time in each nursing home,” says Sheikh.

Sheikh says the scheme has changed how she views her own job, after the wife of one of her patients who had dementia told the GP more about his personality when they were drawing up his end-of-life plan. “It made me realise the person I was treating was a human being who had a life and not just an advanced dementia patient who would never cooperate and would swear all the time,” she says. “Looking beyond that facade really made me think of how I could reach out more.”

Following the success of the pilot scheme, Jagan John, director of Health 1000, says preparations are under way to roll it out to all 39 nursing homes in the three boroughs, and other CCGs including Hertfordshire have shown an interest in replicating the model. “This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense,” he says.

Back in her room at Willows, Mills can’t praise the scheme enough. “When I was in my own home, it was often so difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and I didn’t always get the same doctor, which made me feel awkward,” she says. “I’ve had better care from Muna than any GP before.”

GP visits to care homes reduce hospital admissions by nearly 40%

When Mary Mills had a mini stroke and broke her hip and leg, following two successive bad falls last year, she decided to move into a nursing home. Since November, Mills, 74, has been resident at Willows Care Home in Romford, east London. Due to her ongoing health needs, Mills needs regular appointments with her GP, Dr Muna Sheikh. But she does not have to be taken to the surgery or wait weeks to be seen.

Willows is one of four nursing homes across the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge taking part in a £400,000 pilot scheme. Jointly funded by the prime minister’s challenge fund (which awarded £50m to 20 pilot projects in England to improve access to general practice) and the local clinical commissioning groups, Health 1000 is a dedicated primary care practice providing 431 residents of the homes with 8am to 8pm, seven-days-a-week GP support, as well as training and advice for staff and help from a consultant geriatrician.


This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense

Crucially, the nursing homes are allocated a GP, directly employed by Health 1000, who visits the home each week. This is far from normal practice. Often, care home residents are registered with different GP practices, which do not always come out to care homes, or only provide phone consultations. In a review of the sector in 2012, the Care Quality Commission found only 38% of care homes had regular visits from GPs.

At Willows, where Sheikh spends every Friday morning, Mills says the regular contact is fantastic. “I’ve had quite a few things wrong with me,” she says. “Even if there is nothing wrong, she sometimes pops in to say hello. And I only have to say to the nurse that I want to see her and she comes.”

It is not just patients like Mills who are seeing the benefits. A new evaluation published on Wednesday by the health thinktank, the Nuffield Trust, found that in the three years to 2017 the scheme resulted in a 36% reduction in emergency admissions to hospital, and emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%, leading to estimated annual savings to the NHS of more than £1,000 a patient.

Doctor holding patient’s hand in hospital


In the three years to 2017 emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%. Photograph: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images/Blend Images

The findings are especially striking, Nuffield Trust says, given that care home residents have between 40% and 50% more emergency admissions to hospital than the general population aged over 75. “One interesting thing about evaluating different schemes for keeping people out of hospital is it is rare to find such a big effect,” says Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust. “There are four times more people in beds in care homes than there are in hospital, so it is a very big part of the health and social care systems. It’s easy to say, well, they are in a nursing home so we don’t need to worry, but this scheme turns that on its head.”

One reason for the scheme’s success is that doctors such as Sheikh are able to really get to know patients and care home staff, meaning problems are often discussed before they escalate. “This kind of conversation is only possible because we have dedicated time in each nursing home,” says Sheikh.

Sheikh says the scheme has changed how she views her own job, after the wife of one of her patients who had dementia told the GP more about his personality when they were drawing up his end-of-life plan. “It made me realise the person I was treating was a human being who had a life and not just an advanced dementia patient who would never cooperate and would swear all the time,” she says. “Looking beyond that facade really made me think of how I could reach out more.”

Following the success of the pilot scheme, Jagan John, director of Health 1000, says preparations are under way to roll it out to all 39 nursing homes in the three boroughs, and other CCGs including Hertfordshire have shown an interest in replicating the model. “This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense,” he says.

Back in her room at Willows, Mills can’t praise the scheme enough. “When I was in my own home, it was often so difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and I didn’t always get the same doctor, which made me feel awkward,” she says. “I’ve had better care from Muna than any GP before.”

GP visits to care homes reduce hospital admissions by nearly 40%

When Mary Mills had a mini stroke and broke her hip and leg, following two successive bad falls last year, she decided to move into a nursing home. Since November, Mills, 74, has been resident at Willows Care Home in Romford, east London. Due to her ongoing health needs, Mills needs regular appointments with her GP, Dr Muna Sheikh. But she does not have to be taken to the surgery or wait weeks to be seen.

Willows is one of four nursing homes across the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge taking part in a £400,000 pilot scheme. Jointly funded by the prime minister’s challenge fund (which awarded £50m to 20 pilot projects in England to improve access to general practice) and the local clinical commissioning groups, Health 1000 is a dedicated primary care practice providing 431 residents of the homes with 8am to 8pm, seven-days-a-week GP support, as well as training and advice for staff and help from a consultant geriatrician.


This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense

Crucially, the nursing homes are allocated a GP, directly employed by Health 1000, who visits the home each week. This is far from normal practice. Often, care home residents are registered with different GP practices, which do not always come out to care homes, or only provide phone consultations. In a review of the sector in 2012, the Care Quality Commission found only 38% of care homes had regular visits from GPs.

At Willows, where Sheikh spends every Friday morning, Mills says the regular contact is fantastic. “I’ve had quite a few things wrong with me,” she says. “Even if there is nothing wrong, she sometimes pops in to say hello. And I only have to say to the nurse that I want to see her and she comes.”

It is not just patients like Mills who are seeing the benefits. A new evaluation published on Wednesday by the health thinktank, the Nuffield Trust, found that in the three years to 2017 the scheme resulted in a 36% reduction in emergency admissions to hospital, and emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%, leading to estimated annual savings to the NHS of more than £1,000 a patient.

Doctor holding patient’s hand in hospital


In the three years to 2017 emergency bed days spent in hospital fell by 53%. Photograph: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images/Blend Images

The findings are especially striking, Nuffield Trust says, given that care home residents have between 40% and 50% more emergency admissions to hospital than the general population aged over 75. “One interesting thing about evaluating different schemes for keeping people out of hospital is it is rare to find such a big effect,” says Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the Nuffield Trust. “There are four times more people in beds in care homes than there are in hospital, so it is a very big part of the health and social care systems. It’s easy to say, well, they are in a nursing home so we don’t need to worry, but this scheme turns that on its head.”

One reason for the scheme’s success is that doctors such as Sheikh are able to really get to know patients and care home staff, meaning problems are often discussed before they escalate. “This kind of conversation is only possible because we have dedicated time in each nursing home,” says Sheikh.

Sheikh says the scheme has changed how she views her own job, after the wife of one of her patients who had dementia told the GP more about his personality when they were drawing up his end-of-life plan. “It made me realise the person I was treating was a human being who had a life and not just an advanced dementia patient who would never cooperate and would swear all the time,” she says. “Looking beyond that facade really made me think of how I could reach out more.”

Following the success of the pilot scheme, Jagan John, director of Health 1000, says preparations are under way to roll it out to all 39 nursing homes in the three boroughs, and other CCGs including Hertfordshire have shown an interest in replicating the model. “This is about the patient. It’s about what the patient needs in the moment you see them. It’s common sense,” he says.

Back in her room at Willows, Mills can’t praise the scheme enough. “When I was in my own home, it was often so difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and I didn’t always get the same doctor, which made me feel awkward,” she says. “I’ve had better care from Muna than any GP before.”