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The secret of change
The NHS plan was unveiled on Thursday, 23rd October. A brief document - fewer than 40 pages – and having read it over the weekend in detail, I thought it was quite a punchy narrative!
So, what does it all mean?
The two main issues as I see it are first and foremost, the money and second, the demand for hospital services.
There is a very well documented £30bn forecasted funding gap over the coming 5 years, and this coupled with an increased demand for services means the numbers just don’t stack up.
Mr Stevens has outlined what he sees as some of the potential solutions and it is clear, that actually, this is now the time for doing...
Small hospitals are needed. Mr Stevens said as much in his maiden speech at The NHS Confederation in June of this year. He suggests that there is an opportunity for smaller organisations to share back-office functions thus driving economies of scale. He also explores an opportunity for larger organisations to look at a franchise model, using smaller hospital sites to launch franchised services. The Christie and Moorfields in particular have already explored / done this.
Community must definitely factor in the equation too – there is a very real need for more patients with a higher level of acuity to be supported at home or in a community setting; this absolutely must happen if the NHS is to continue to function – at all.
I recently heard a speaker suggest it was time for the leaders within health economies to grasp the challenge and drive the agenda locally. With perder looming, the financial challenge laid barer than bare and the need for pace around reconfiguration greater than ever, I wonder if despite this, the whole system will fail to achieve what is needed in spite of itself (and the politician's...)?
Sarah Lovell, Consultant