Everyone deserves to receive the best care possible to get back to the life they love after illness or injury. We are now well on our way to bringing an exciting and new model of rehabilitation care to make this happen in the UK, and significantly improve patient outcomes and flow.
Circle has always sought to transform healthcare and do things better. We have long seen the need for an integrated healthcare solution – a type of model we became particularly engaged in after managing the capitated budget for MSK in Bedfordshire, which enabled us to identify how all stages of care could be improved. At a macro level, we all know the UK healthcare system faces unprecedented challenges, something highlighted daily in the news. We know primary care is good, but the links integrating this with acute care, and acute with care at home, need significant improvement.
We believe one missing link is specialist rehabilitation.
After three years studying European specialist rehabilitation – a model resulting in seamless patient flow from hospitals to care at home and reduced dependency on nursing home beds – we signed a joint venture with VAMED in December last year, the largest provider of specialist rehabilitation in Austria, Czech Republic and Switzerland.
A significant proportion of NHS patients who experience delayed discharge, and many others, are appropriate for rehabilitation and would benefit from being transferred earlier to receive more intensive rehabilitation in a less costly environment than an acute hospital. This is much better for patients, and can enable acute hospitals to improve flow and save significant amounts – up to £10m in savings per annum per trust, with the liberation of up to 44,000 bed days each year.
The patient always comes first in whatever we do. No longer will those who have broken their hip have to spend 20 days in an acute hospital with little or no rehabilitation and then be transferred to a nursing home; no longer will those who have suffered a stroke wait to receive the timely and high quality care they deserve.
While there are pockets of great rehabilitation in the UK, such as facilities for specialist neurological rehabilitation and police and military services, generally care is inconsistent and fragmented. We want to change that, and make this service available to all. Our vision is to establish 20 large-scale hospitals in the UK in the next ten years.
The European model is ‘rock and roll’ rehabilitation – patients move from being a recipient of care to a participant. They spend their time outside of their room, interacting with large numbers of therapists and other patients as they receive up to four hours of therapies and education a day. They benefit from the latest techniques and state of the art technologies, and receive full medical care from dedicated, in-house teams to get them back to full health.
The Europeans have been able to do this successfully by operating large-scale 120-bed rehabilitation hospitals close to acute hospitals that pull patients out after a short period in acute beds. With VAMED’s experience and expertise, we are now well-placed to expedite the transfer of knowledge to adapt this model successfully for the UK. Of course these rehabilitation hospitals are not the magic bullet for the whole UK health system – but they are an important missing cog between acute hospitals and care at home. We now have the opportunity to do something incredibly innovative and rewarding, and give people what they deserve: a happy, healthy and independent life. We want everyone on board – and we need your ideas and input.