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Patients 'should be given more control over their care'

Patients 'should be given more control over their care'


Patients should be given more control over their care, leaders of the health service in England have claimed. 

NHS England's five-year forward view has committed to giving patients the option of combining health and social care, and new support for carers and volunteers. 

The boundaries between health, social care and mental health should be broken down, the report claims. 

The document sets out new models of care built around the needs of patients rather than historical or professional divides. 

NHS England's plan also sets out the actions needed to develop and deliver the new models of care, including greater alignment between the national NHS bodies to provide meaningful local flexibility in the way that payment, rules and regulatory requirements are applied. 

It proposes more investment in workforce, technology and innovation.

It concludes that although a better future is in view for the NHS, action will be needed on three fronts - demand, efficiency and funding.  More action on any one of the three will reduce the pressures on the other two. It shows how delivering on the transformational changes set out in the Forward View, combined with staged funding increases as the economy allows could feasibly close the £30 billion gap by 2020/21, and secure a far better health service for England.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the British Medical Association council said that although policymakers have tried to pretend that structural reorganisation can make up for lack of proper resourcing, the five-year plan shows that it can't. 

The NHS needs a programme of sustained, long-term investment that allows it to meet difficult challenges, Dr Porter said. 

He added: “When the NHS is given adequate resources it has a track record of delivering results.  It is now for politicians to stop saying they understand this problem and act to give clinicians throughout the NHS the ability to deliver first rate care to patients.

“Many of the new models of working contained in these proposals could deliver benefits to patients and it is important that we look at new, flexible ways of working.  As the report clearly states, the next Government must avoid another top down and expensive restructuring of the NHS that is driven by central political targets rather than local clinical priorities.”

NHS Confederation chief executive Rob Webster, said: "The vision set out looks ambitious. The focus on prevention, supported self-care, mental health and the increased emphasis on supporting people to stay out of hospital is a strong indication that NHS England is genuinely committed to helping make this step change move from discussion to reality. Sustainable, world class provision that builds on our excellent hospital, community, mental health and ambulance services is also welcome. The service delivery models – in advance of the Dalton Review – also suggest an appetite for change and improvement.

“Funding is a political choice. We have for some time been warning of the impact of the emerging NHS funding gap on our members’ ongoing ability to deliver the high quality care patients want and need. So we welcome the messages that, even if we are able to rapidly make changes to models of care and address demand, the next Government will still need to make a decision on additional funding to close the gap.

"We particularly welcome a clear recognition of the need for a ‘pump priming’ funding for new models of care, and a commitment to enable the NHS to move forward with faster adoption of innovation." 

The NHS Forward View has been produced by NHS England, Public Heath England, Monitor, the NHS Trust Development Authority, Care Quality Commission and Health Education England, advised by patient groups, clinicians and independent experts.


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