Providing for the future - a programme for parliament
Our vision is of an NHS providing world-class care in the right place at the right time. Of an NHS responsive to local needs and continuously improving experiences and quality of care. Of an NHS where communities, patients and service users know they have control and choice in decisions about their health. There are strong foundations for this vision.
Yet fully realising this vision means far more than the NHS simply working harder, being more efficient and continuing as it is. It must transform, and it must do so urgently. The NHS cannot stand still.
Meeting these 21st century needs means reshaping NHS services. Change is not new to the NHS. Throughout its extraordinary history the NHS has evolved and innovated,and it has strong foundations for the future.
Yet the challenge of achieving radical and urgent change coincides with an extended period of intense financial pressure. In recent years, NHS funding has remained at a broadly constant level despite steady increases in demand and costs.
NHS providers need to be able to invest time and resources in new models of integrated care which meet 21st century needs. This will require new ways of working across health and social care, with providers and commissioners coming together to share risks and expertise. It will mean empowering patients in their healthcare choices, investing in prevention and wellness, and where appropriate moving care into the community and closer to home. It will mean reinvigorating the balanced autonomy and accountability of the foundation trusts, rallying behind direct community engagement over health and social care priorities and investment of significant public monies.
To move to new models of care, NHS providers, local health and social care systems and national bodies need to work together to:
- invest to transform the NHS into a sustainable 21st century service
- support an empowered and affordable NHS workforce with the right skills and in the right numbers
- ensure improvement is owned and led by providers, underpinned by regulatory assurance that the system is working in the best interests of patients and service users
- enable autonomous and accountable NHS providers to drive new models of care, in partnership with their local health and social care system.