Friday, 22 March, 2019

NHS long-term plan unveils tech-savvy future for service

The Andrew Marr Show Prime Minister Theresa May appears on The Andrew Marr Show
Anna Jefferson | 08 January, 2019, 17:57

This funding will provide for new primary care networks based on neighbouring GP practices which will include pharmacists in the team.

The plan continues the recent NHS trend of focusing on prevention and early detection, by detailing that the biggest cash injections will go to Global Positioning System, mental health and community care, increasing funding for primary and community care by at least £4.5 billion and aiming to curb the reliance on hospitals.

It will be supported by further investment in the nhs.uk platform, along with the creation of a new framework for digital suppliers to primary care, a review - which will take in the GP payment formula - of digital first practices to ensure they are safe and benefit the NHS, and a review of GP regulation and terms and conditions. "While there are initiatives in the plan to build the workforce, they need to be matched with action from central government to secure training budgets and a supportive migration policy to allow global recruitment that is vital to staffing the NHS".

Theresa May has hailed the launch of a 10-year plan for the NHS in England as a "truly historic moment".

Meanwhile, all providers across acute, community and mental health "will be expected to advance to a core level of digitisation by 2024".

"Too often, those with gambling addiction suffer in silence, which is why we will continue to work closely with the NHS to help make sure there are good links between the services we commission and those commissioned by the NHS".

The plan prioritises improved access for mental health services, expansion of personal health budgets, improvements to maternity care and support for the ageing population in England, with other parts of the United Kingdom being funded separately.

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The NHS England document said: "Expanded community health teams will be required under new national standards to provide fast support to people in their own homes as an alternative to hospitalisation, and to ramp up NHS support to people living in care homes". It describes how we will use the largest funding settlement in the history of the NHS to strengthen it over the next decade, rising to the challenges of today and seizing the opportunities of the future. We're also constrained by severe workforce shortages. And while improving survival rates for serious conditions has been put at the forefront of this new strategy, it seems no consideration has been given to learning from the Social Health Insurance systems in Europe, under which thousands more people survive strokes and common types of cancer each year.

"By supporting us, CCGs will make a significant and vital contribution to the wellbeing of local families and help ensure children's palliative care services - including those provided by the NHS in a hospital setting and those provided by us in the community - are available to all who need them, when they need them".

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Whether it's treating ever more people in their communities, using the latest technology to tackle preventable diseases, or giving every baby the very best start in life - this Government has given the NHS the multi-billion pound investment needed to nurture and safeguard our nation's health service for generations to come".

The report - which is long on buzzwords and short on substance - also referenced the use of artificial intelligence to aid decision-support, the use of predictive tools to support the development of local health services, and linking genomic "and other data" to support the development of new treatments. The 10-year plan will only affect NHS England. "We will work to improve signposting, and expand coverage to reach more people and make a greater impact", the plan reads.

"In the NHS it is always hard to take changes from the whiteboard to the ward", said Nuffield Trust chief exec Nigel Edwards.

Meanwhile, NHS doctors will be able to access specialist mental health support, providing a safe, confidential non-stigmatising service to turn to when they are struggling and need help.

"The green paper and the NHS long term plan should have been developed in parallel".

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