Pause, consult and reflect but we musn’t stop

Guest Blog by Gail Beer, Consultant Director,

The proposed reforms to the NHS are now taking a break while the Government decides how to respond to  the numerous criticisms  and increasingly vocal and angry  NHS bodies.

Undoubtedly there are issues that need to be resolved and given more consideration. Amongst them   the governance arrangements, which are just too loose, and it appears cannot be left to local managers to resolve. Further consideration too needs to be given to the role of public health and ‘health and well being boards’.

While the above do require attention and we here at 2020 fully support some changes, there worryingly appears to be opposition to any change what so ever. It would seem that the voices of those who wish to see things stay the same are winning the attention on every level.

We are told that restructuring is wrong! Cuts are bad for patient care; the introduction of GP consortia is causing rationing now and is likely to cause even more problems in the future; the use of the private sector would be bad for the NHS and bad for patients; localism must take place against a backdrop of central direction.  At least one group doesn’t like something within the bill and these voices now hold sway, so the whole bill may well be altered.

Restructuring is always unpopular and does not always bring about the change required, however there is really no  justification for the increase in managers over the last 10 years and we should question where the quantitative evidence is  for the benefits they have  brought.  If clinicians really are better at determining how healthcare should be provided it cannot be an activity which they undertake without being accountable. Given the amount of money pumped into the NHS over the last 13 years why do we still see failures to deliver high quality care?

Change is essential if the NHS is to survive. The shape of our services must change, and this includes primary, secondary, tertiary as well as social care.  Given that doing things as we do them now is not giving us the pace and depth of change we need and  as yet  does not demonstrate value for money it would appear that more of the same is the order of the day.  What other solutions are on offer that enable us to meet all the challenges the future holds in a timely manner and demonstrate value for money?

Yet more of the same will not suffice in the end.  We need undoubtedly do  need to have a wider debate  not just on these reforms but the future of healthcare generally,  everyone including professionals and the public needs to understand that without fundamental change now  the NHS may  require an even bigger change later on and in a way that none of us  can even contemplate or indeed may like. Will the public thank us then for not grasping the nettle now?

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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1 Response to Pause, consult and reflect but we musn’t stop

  1. Pingback: Failing hospitals fill up with apoplectic politicians | 2020health's Blog

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