There are approximately 10 million pieces of community equipment delivered to 3.5 million clients every year in England and Wales. The service is key for moving people safely around the whole health and social care system, and is used by almost every clinical professional working in the community. It is an absolute essential part of the early intervention and prevention agenda. Unfortunately, the service currently has no standards in place nor is it regulated or inspected in its own right by any of the regulators. Recently enacted legislation impacts significantly on this service area, which has serious penalties for failure. There are some concerning aspects of service delivery, particularly regarding quality and patient safety issues. Widespread failings in service delivery are resulting in a significant number of unnecessary fatalities and incidents, and avoidable costs being incurred. Undue care in this area is resulting in health and social care organizations not fully realizing their strategic and policy objectives. Unless community equipment is addressed appropriately, these issues are likely to be intensified, especially with recent and proposed changes for community equipment services, such as 'choice and control'. It is proposed that national minimum standards will reduce risks and improve quality and safety, while saving public funds through a reduction in secondary episodes of care.
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