NHS Confederation has listed 10 actions to take into consideration while choosing the priorities for the 10-year NHS plan.
A national conversation, involving both patients and staff and designed to inform the long-term plan for the NHS and shape and transform healthcare services, is needed, NHS Confederation said.
10 steps towards a plan for the NHS
The 10 actions that NHS Confederation is calling for are:
- ‘Healthcare must be patient-centred’: Greater attention must be placed on primary care, community health services and social care
- ‘We must invest in new models of care:. These can reduce the pressure on hospitals and should be funded appropriately, instead of funding a current system that can no longer cope with pressure.
- ‘We must devise national and local strategies to recruit and retain essential staff’: Great importance needs to be placed on recruiting at home and from abroad and having discussions on how to retain and develop staff.
- ‘We must wage war on unwarranted variation’: There is a need to reorganise back office functions and administrative support, and share ideas that work across the system.
- ‘We must update legislation to create simpler structures’: These need to be amended to reduce confusion among patients as to who is responsible for local health services, and to allow organisations to work together for the benefits patients.
- ‘We must work to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health’: More people with mental health problems will be treated quickly and effectively if this point is fulfilled – via funding – NHS Confederation said.
- ‘We must invest in social care and integrate health and social care services’: The current lack of investment in social care not only increases the pressure on the NHS, it’s also created a situation in which there is a considerable amount of unmet social care needs, which NHS Confederation labelled ‘a disgrace’.
- ‘We must have a national settlement with local government for commissioning properly integrated local services’: This will allow us to get rid of ‘the silo working of the last 70 years’.
- ‘We must help manage demand for healthcare’: This can be done by investing into public health initiatives that support good health and help prevent illnesses.
- ‘The public must be consulted and clinical staff must be involved in points 1-9’.
The 10-year plan, which could be published in November, will likely include a conversation with the public, as NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens told the Health and Social Care Committee on Monday (2 July).
Mr Stevens said: ‘We are envisaging that there will be several strands to this. One will be that Healthwatch, [which] has statutory responsibilities for public engagement, will be involved in working locally as well as nationally on this.’
The NHS Confederation’s call comes as the Prime Minister recently announced that the NHS budget will increase by more than £20bn by 2024.
NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson: ‘We have welcomed the long-term funding settlement outlined by the Prime Minister and the extra money it will mean for the NHS and now the focus must be that it is put to the best possible use.
‘This cannot simply be by propping up current ways of working but must mean extra funding is spent transforming the system, integrating health and social care and developing better support for people living with long-term conditions in the community.’