Letter to the editor
Mr Stevens is right to suggest better use of local community health facilities to treat elderly patients with long-term conditions (NHS chief Simon Stevens: We need cottage hospitals, 30 May 2014). The NHS must also reduce the amount it spends on acute hospital care, which currently stands at 51 per cent of the NHS budget. To tackle the causes of overuse of A&E, we need access to out-of-hours GP services and to specialist hospital doctors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To fund all this, the NHS must centralise major acute and specialist services (which cannot be provided locally in a safe and sustainable manner). This includes reducing the current over-provision of A&E departments across the country.
Sam Burrows and Kate Woolland are healthcare experts at PA Consulting Group
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