Patient choice has been on the agenda for some considerable time now. Yet today the results of the consultation on opening up GP boundaries revealed that those users who responded were keen to see greater flexibility in the system. This naturally, has been met with resistance from professionals. The argument is that it would break continuity of care and have an effect upon the GPs relationship with their local community.
Yet change there must be. As the population becomes more consumer aware with regard to health they will not be content to stick with the status quo. They will demand more choice, increased flexibility with the ability to determine how and when they receive care, which they pay for through their taxes.
It is time for GPs and healthcare professionals to follow the direction of travel of acute services, offer greater flexibility to those it serves and be more responsive to demand from the public. If this is difficult within current structures then maybe we should be reviewing the models of care we have in place.
If the patient is at the centre of all we do then health care providers need to pay more attention to what the patient wants and give serious change the way they deliver care or they will begin to be seen as self-serving and not responsive to change.
Julia Manning and Gail Beer
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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