Guest Blog by Gail Beer
NHS managers stand accused of being anti-competitive and taking measures that restrict patient choice regarding where their treatment can take place.
The waste here is that we need a wider debate on the future of healthcare in this country rather than spending time on arguing on restructuring and re-organising that may well leave us with the same system for delivering health care that we have now.
The aging population and increase in those who will suffer from complex and multiple long-term conditions will be the real challenges that we face rather than worrying about opening up the market and increasing Patient Choice.
Given that 70% of beds are occupied by patients suffering from Long Term conditions, for far too long the focus has been on where and when cold surgery will be delivered. If we are to cope with the challenges of the future it is imperative that we understand the scale of these challenges and develop clear strategies for coping. This will involve reshaping where and when care is delivered, using new technologies and new providers. The NHS will not be able to deliver all our requirements and should welcome assistance in meeting patient’s needs. In redefining how we deliver care in the future, hospitals will have to adapt to a new environment and may well not be able to deliver everything and this will reshape some hospitals. Saving hospitals as they are may well be detrimental in the long run. The public, and that includes those working in the NHS, need to enter into the debate and understand the consequences of standing still and clinging to outdated beliefs.
Quality and timeliness of care cannot be preserved if we continue as we are and that is what matters.