Opinion

Out with the old, in with the not so new

 

By Zoe Bedford

The long-awaited long-term plan came out on Monday and whether its timing was aimed to distract from the upcoming Brexit debate; to give the PM a domestic-success buoyancy aid; or to give the NHS sufficient time to prep itself ahead of the new financial year, it’s packed full of promises and commitments. In reading it (well most of it), one can be forgiven for swinging from optimist to cynic.

I know there has already been a huge amount written about long term plan, but I just wanted to share my quick thoughts on the high and low lights.

Whilst the media coverage is focusing on the extra 500,000 lives that will be saved by a focus on prevention, there is a lot more in there.

Big topics included (in no particular order):

  • All patients to have access to digital providers and online GP access
  • ICSs to have national coverage by April 2021 (see our previous posts for more)
  • Secondary care will be fully digital by 2024
  • Consideration as to what changes to primary legislation is needed to speed up integration, improve administrative efficiency and ensure public accountability (although how this will be carried through in the event of a new PM or government is unclear).
  • Social prescribing and personalised budgets available for 2.5m people within 5 years
  • Primary medical (i.e. GPs) and community services to get an extra £4.5bn
  • £2.3bn towards mental health services and waiting-time targets for treatment

What’s less exciting:

  • Local five-year plans to be published in Autumn 2019 – sounds remarkably like round two of the STP plans. And it’s unclear how these will fit within the ‘new’ ICS coverage targeted for 2021.

There were also some big opportunities in there, which could almost get lost amidst the jargon that they have been carefully wrapped in:

  • Triple integration. Move over the triple aim, the next 10 years is all about triple integration i.e. the integration of primary and community services; mental and physical health; and health and social care
  • The gene revolution. The UK will become a world leader in using genetic testing for chronic and rare diseases.

By the end of 10 years, we’ll be the world leaders in genomics, we’ll have a fully digital system and be able to move seamlessly between social, community, GP and acute services, all managed through our phones and with elements of control over our personal budgets. There is nothing new in this ambition, but given the last four years (since the 2014 Five Year Forward View) has been about laying the foundations for this transformation into a fully integrated system, we might just get some of the way there.

If you would like to find out how the plan is likely to impact you and want to identify the best opportunities for your organisation, be sure to drop me an email or a line (07799 624 132).