18 Apr 2013

Community focus keeping people out of hospital

9:37 pm on 18 April 2013

A Canterbury initiative aimed at strengthening care in the community is keeping people out of hospital, a visiting British health expert says.

The head of The King's Fund independent health think-tank is in Christchurch evaluating progress towards fully integrated health care.

Canterbury health chiefs are seeking to deliver more healthcare in the community rather than at hospitals, when appropriate.

Its aim is for an affordable health system in the long term, but this became an urgent priority after recent damaging earthquakes.

The district health board asked The King's Fund to evaluate progress and the fund's chief executive, Chris Ham, presented the draft findings in Christchurch on Thursday.

Professor Ham said more services and support in the community have reduced the use of hospital beds and the time patients spend in hospital.

He said vision, leadership and teamwork have been key and as a case study, it is relevant to all countries seeking more affordable health systems.