Long live the NHS?

I have just been watching Sir Malcolm Grant speak about the appointment of Simon Stevens as the new head of NHS England. He talked about Simon being a global leader and he certainly is well respected on both sides of the pond. Unison are doing their bit to stir things up, worrying about American influences and privatisation (of course).

However Sir Malcolm didn’t repeat what he had said this morning on Radio 4 Today which got my eyebrows raised over my muesli “the NHS is living on borrowed time”.

Wow. That is quite a statement. Does he really think the NHS’s days are numbered? In its current form, many would agree – but that is very different from implying that it will go altogether. Simon (I am having to resist the urge to call him Sir Simon, but it can’t be long) has the difficult role of being the CEO whilst an awful lot of changes will have to be made. We do need to ask what the NHS is there for, and what role it should have in the years ahead. The public need to be told what they probably already know, that the NHS cannot go on doing everything for everyone. And Simon will need to preside over a sea-change in attitudes and activity. Unless and until we all become more involved in our personal and family’s health: monitoring, self-care, coordinating our medical and social care records, volunteering, self-pay etc the NHS will not be able to meet the needs to the most vulnerable who have no other option than to depend on professional services. So maybe the NHS is dead. But long live the NHS.


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. 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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