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Community hospitals: still a viable option?

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3581 (Published 26 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3581
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The “cottage hospital” model of care is a good fit for the needs of an ageing population, says a new report—but not everyone agrees. Gareth Iacobucci investigates

A report from RAND Europe, a non-profit research institute based in Cambridge, has sparked a debate about whether community hospitals can deliver integrated care in England.

The report,1 commissioned by the government and funded by the National Institute for Health Research, argues that community hospitals have the potential to assume “a more strategic role in healthcare delivery locally, providing care closer to people’s homes.”

But, with 44 sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) developing models of integrated care around England that seemingly focus more on cutting bed numbers than on enhancing community hospitals, will the report strike the right chord with commissioners and policy makers?

An evolving model

The traditional image of community hospitals, or local “cottage” hospitals—staffed by GPs and nurses and serving mainly rural, often elderly, populations—has fallen out of …

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