What is the NHS long term plan?
The NHS long term plan was released last week; it provides direction for improvements in the system over the next 10 years.
Many of the priority areas have been previously recognised as requiring improvement by Healthwatch Southwark and fellow Healthwatch organisations across the country.
There is a focus on improving care and treatment outside of hospital, and changing services to ensure they are personalised and more joined up. There is an ambition to make services more convenient through integrated teams of GPs, community services and social care staff working together more closely. It is hoped that more people will benefit from social prescribing and support to manage their own health, making better use of patient groups and the voluntary sector. There will be increased funding for GPs, mental health services, including specific services for young people, and community care.
There will be greater NHS action on preventable conditions and health inequalities through NHS health improvement activities targeting: Smoking, Obesity, Alcohol, Air pollution and Antimicrobial resistance.
Major conditions and experiences will be targeted such as: Cancer, Mental health, People with multiple long-term conditions, Aging well, including those living with dementia, Maternity and children's health, Learning disability and autism, Respiratory and cardiovascular.
Improvements will also be made in access and how people interact with the NHS via new digital services, such as video consultations.
The plan acknowledges the strain and challenges experienced by NHS staff and proposes new ways to respond including new career routes, training and professional development.
The plan emphasises that organisations across the NHS and local authorities need to work together to improve the health of their local populations. In Southwark and Lambeth preliminary work has been taking place to make these changes through establishing Local Care Networks. You can read more about this here: https://www.southwarkccg.nhs.uk/our-plans/Pages/Local-Care-Networks.aspx
Southwark Healthwatch will be talking with the public about the new plan in the next few months so please look out for more news coming soon.
For those keen to read more:
- The Longer term, full report and summaries available.
- King fund have written a response to what's in the new plan.
- Healthwatch England's response
- Community Southwark's piece looks at the plan from a Southwark voluntary sector perspective.