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The long term plan: we need additional resources for social care and local government

By Rob Webster
14 January 2019

I have three perspectives on the publication of the long term plan. Firstly, as someone who runs a trust, secondly as a chief executive lead for an ICS and finally as someone who has been involved in one of the work streams of the long term plan.

Investment in mental health, learning disabilities, community services and prevention is essential to meet the needs of people today and to transform health and care services for the future. What we need to see now is investment flowing from the earmarked resources set out in the plan to frontline organisations.

The long term plan for the NHS also gives formal backing to ICSs like West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership. In my role as the lead CEO I am delighted to see the recognition given to the role of ICSs in delivering the plan.

The plan gives a further boost to the priorities we have been working on locally and could help us deliver reductions in health inequalities and unwarranted care variation.

The focus on mental health services, cancer, prevention, and primary care will build on our approach and the progress we have already made. The recognition of workforce challenges is welcome and I’m keen to understand how the full workforce plan will further support local efforts to secure a workforce for the future. This is perhaps our biggest single challenge.

Alongside the long term plan, we will need additional resources and support for social care and local government. Without these we cannot deliver our ambitions. I look forward to seeing the social care green paper and the outcome of the spending review later this year.

As one of the leads on the learning disability and autism work stream, I am pleased to see priority given to people with a learning disability, people with autism, their families and carers.

I am particularly pleased that new standards will be applied to all NHS care to ensure that services are more responsive in  meeting the needs of people with a learning disability and people with autism.

One of the things that is important is making a good start on implementing the plan.

Rob Webster is chief executive of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

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