The needs of patients and citizens should be at the heart of the NHS plan

Jim Mackey profile picture

05 October 2018

Jim Mackey
Chief executive
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


It has been a hard few years for the NHS with a constant narrative of pressures on staff and services as a result of demand growth and demographic changes, missed targets and ever tight resources.

The financial settlement for the NHS, awarded in June by the prime minister, came with the need for “The NHS” to develop a new 10-year plan – setting out its stall for some ambitious, long-term, changes in cancer outcomes, mental health, and digital transformation. But she also said the health service would have to get back on track to meeting core performance standards and end trust deficits.  

Is it enough?

There has been a lot of argument about whether the money allocated is enough. However you look at it – it’s a lot of money in the current economic circumstances. It’s important that we all pull together in the development of the plan to make sure that, whatever is agreed in the end, is deliverable and gets the balance right between long-term aspirations and short-term delivery.

We all have strong feelings about what we’d like to see in the plan but it’s how the trade-offs and compromises are made, and priorities are set, that will be key.

Jim Mackey    

We all have strong feelings about what we’d like to see in the plan but it’s how the trade-offs and compromises are made, and priorities are set, that will be key.

 

Keep it simple

Also, this is a very complex process so I would say that a massive effort needs to be made to keep it simple. A complex plan that people can’t understand, or deliver, isn’t a plan….

In doing this, we should listen, understand and talk about what our patients, citizens and staff want from the plan.

A complex plan that people can’t understand, or deliver, isn’t a plan….

Jim Mackey    

In my view the priorities from a patient and citizen perspective are:

  • Reasonable urgent care access and primary care access
  • Reasonable waiting times for elective care
  • The confidence of reasonable quality – for example by reducing the risk of major clinical failures, patients waiting in corridors or delays
  • Progress with the delivery of mental health standards
  • Progress on outcomes in cancer (comparable to European states)
  • Clarity about how social care and the NHS interact and what this means in terms of personal finances.

 

Priorities from a staff perspective are:

  • Reasonable pay for the work they do
  • Less chaotic and pressurised working conditions
  • Hope, and expectation, that the workload will be manageable most days
  • Confidence that numbers and skills of staff are adequate and progression possible
  • A sensible, funded, realistic long-term plan to grow staff numbers to match rising demand
  • Confidence in a range of actions, short and long-term, to improve the supply of staff

 

The 10-year plan is an opportunity to put the health and care system on a footing to meet the needs of the future. We need to seize the day, but it is clear that tough decisions will be needed to ensure that the plan is deliverable and produces real change for patients and communities.

 

Jim Mackey joins us as a speaker at our annual conference and exhibition 2018 alongside Anita Charlesworth CBE from The Health Foundation and Ben Page from Ipsos MORI. The debate will explore what the public should expect, where the extra funding should be targeted and what reform needs to accompany it.

About the author

Jim Mackey profile picture

Jim Mackey
Chief executive

Jim is a qualified accountant who joined the NHS in 1990. His other roles have included chief executive of NHS Improvement, interim chief executive of Northumberland Care Trust, as well as a range of director roles across NHS organisations. He has a keen interest in quality of care, especially patient and family experience, and has participated in a number of reviews and national projects, including the Dalton Review in 2014.

We use cookies to ensure you have the best possible experience on our website. By continuing we’ll assume that you are happy to receive them. Read our updated privacy and cookie policy. Close