As evidenced by the examples of good practice in the previous chapter, there is a lot of important work and innovation that can take place at a provider and system level to ensure people with frailty receive the right care at the right time. There is a role for organisations such as NHS Providers and NHS Confederation to ensure that good practice is shared effectively.

There is also a role for national policymakers to further support local work. According to a recent study, funding cuts to the NHS, public health and social care during the austerity years can be linked to a significant rise in the number of people living with frailty since 2010. Looking ahead, progressing the frailty agenda must be a key local and national priority.

To make the most of the opportunities outlined in this briefing, it is important that providers, integrated care systems, and national policymakers work together to:

  • Deliver greater investment in public health, prevention and community services to ensure that the sector is adequately resourced to intervene early, prevent deterioration, and where necessary, deliver accessible and modern support, particularly hospital at home/virtual ward, during a crisis and after a hospital stay.
  • Lift the barriers to further integration between community providers, primary care and social care, particularly around capital investment, digital capacity, data sharing, and reform and investment in social care.
  • Implement the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan which commits to growing the community workforce to ensure there are the right number and mix of staff to deliver more care in the community.
  • Tackle workforce shortages in social care to ensure that there are sufficient staff in the sector to support people to live flourishing lives in the community, thus supporting the prevention agenda.
  • Engage with clinicians to ensure that frontline staff are confident in leading and championing new ways of working and managing risk for these groups of patients.
  • Enable those working in the health and care sector to work more effectively with people suffering with frailty, as well as their families and carers, to design and deliver care in a way that best suits their needs and care arrangements.