The urgency of speedy care assessments in the UK: A different approach

By Samuel Court, Director at Nexus Care Services

The UK’s healthcare system, widely regarded as one of the most advanced in the world, is unfortunately also known for its protracted care assessment processes, particularly for those transitioning out of NHS care.

This bureaucratic delay is more than just an inconvenience; it’s a hindrance to optimal care and can significantly impact the well-being of the very individuals the system seeks to protect.

We were shocked to recently read a story reported by the BBC that one 96-year-old lady in Wales, Lily, had waited a year to receive any care support and had been left to languish in hospital.

We are amazingly supportive of the NHS and local authorities, who do their very best to place people in high-quality care, but I think the entire industry has to question how cases like this can be allowed to happen.

Patients and their families already navigate the emotional and physical stressors of illness. Adding the burden of extended wait times for care assessments compounds this stress, leading to delayed recoveries, worsening health conditions, and increased frustration.

The often-cited reason for these delays is an overwhelmed system, inundated with requests. However, with the right support at the right time, these extended wait times can be mitigated, if not eliminated entirely.

At Nexus, we understand the importance of speed during care assessment. That is why we have prioritised the management of these assessments in line with our person-centred values and developed a quick response care assessment team.

Case in point: our record time for a care assessment — a mere 45 minutes from the initial call to sitting with the patient and their family – ensuring that the concerned individual received care in just a few days.

This was a private care assessment but that is not to say that the same can’t be achieved with publicly funded care as well. In fact, we regularly conduct care assessments for local authorities in record time but often find barriers beyond the care assessment, often in relation to costs, that prevent us from delivering the highest quality of care as quickly as we would like to.

What sets us apart from others you might ask? First, a proactive mindset. By treating each call with the urgency, it deserves and streamlining processes, Nexus avoids the bureaucratic entanglements that often plague larger institutions.

Second, a smaller, agile team means quicker decision-making and direct actions without layers of protocol.

Lastly, a genuine commitment to the welfare of the patient. By placing the patient at the core of every decision, Nexus ensures that well-being isn’t compromised for administrative convenience. Many of care assessment team go out of their way to conduct meetings, often offering to meet with potential users of our services on their way home.

This final point is only possible thanks to the development and support that we as a care employer offer to our team and the core values that we instill in them during training. This is by no means an expectation or strictly enforced rule, but rather a reflection of who we are as a care provider.

This isn’t to diminish the tremendous work that the NHS does daily. We are extremely admirable of its work and also local care commissioners whose difficult job it is to place the right people in the right care.

But we like to think we serve as a beacon, showing that timely care assessments are achievable. It’s a call to action for other care providers and policymakers to re-evaluate their current protocols.

The overarching message is clear: timely assessments aren’t a luxury; they are a necessity. And with the right structures in place, they are well within reach. By looking at examples like our own, and many other care providers who share similar views, the UK can ensure that its healthcare system remains not only advanced in technology and research but also in its delivery of prompt, compassionate care.

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