‘Righteous anger’ plea over NHS

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The public should feel “righteous anger” at the state of the health service, the chief executive of NHS England has said.

“Hard-nosed conversations” are needed as the NHS deals with the tough challenges it faces, Simon Stevens added.

He was speaking at the launch of a new report from health think tank the King’s Fund, which looks at how to implement the changes it suggests are needed to improve the beleaguered service.

Mr Stevens said “recalibration” between national leaders and staff at the frontline of the health service was necessary.

“In some cases we, I think – this is probably an unfashionable statement – have almost got to have a bit of righteous anger about how things currently are,” he told the gathering of healthcare experts and workers.

“Because the conversations I’ve been having with people with disabilities for example, about the fact that in some parts of the country you are far more likely to end up in some long-stay inpatient place to live your life just because that’s what the health service has always offered and continues to offer – well I don’t think that’s acceptable.”

The King’s Fund report calls for fundamental changes in the health service to deliver the vision set out in its NHS Five Year Forward View, which was published in October.

The charity argues that the reform of the NHS should rely less on targets and inspections and more on support for leaders and staff to bring about a change in culture.

It also says that dealing with growing financial and service pressures are causing a distraction from the implementation of long-term changes that are needed.

Its latest report makes a number of recommendations including greater pooling of budgets, more focus by health regulator the Care Quality Commission on assessing care systems at a local level and a national strategy for quality improvement and leadership development.

The original report has been endorsed by all three main political parties and is expected to set the agenda for NHS reform in the next parliament.

Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund and lead author of the report, said: “The NHS Five Year Forward View offers a compelling vision for how NHS services need to change but risks gathering dust on the shelf unless fundamental changes are made to the way health services are commissioned, paid for and regulated.

“While NHS leaders will understandably be tempted to focus on dealing with short-term pressures, the reality is that improving operational performance and implementing the changes to services outlined in the Forward View are two sides of the same coin – both must be priorities if the NHS is to confront the challenges it faces.”

Published: Wednesday 18th February 2015 by The News Editor

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