Press Comment The challenge remains: healthcare needs reform
On a day of changing faces around the Cabinet table, the Prime Minister has retained Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health – and he has retained the challenge of reforming the NHS.
The pressures on health care have been growing for years. Expectations have grown with excellence in care. Demand for services is increasing and the 21st century challenges to health such as obesity are forming before our eyes.
The delivery of health care is creaking. Space is limited, staffing is stretched and funding is tight. Workforce morale is low and recruitment fears have filled the front pages. Scandals over quality will linger long in the public memory. There is barely a part of the health care system that is untouched by these concerns. The 20th century solutions we have are not the way forward. Innovation is the watchword, transformation plans cover every part of the country and figures are scrutinised for early signs that Simon Steven’s 5 Year Forward View is being delivered.
But if it was needed, events of recent weeks have framed a further, stark warning for the Secretary of State: what was Brexit if it was not a rejection of an Institution that had become disconnected from voters?
Robin Millar, Acting Chief Executive of 2020health said:
“If adapting the NHS to be fit for the 21st century was easy, it would have been done by now. Brexit is bringing in a new era for government in the UK. Does the new Prime Minister’s promise of "more control over your lives” herald a much needed, long hoped for reform to health care? A different approach that will ensure healthcare of the future is more personal and local?“
Work by 2020Health has highlighted:
• "A Shared Responsibility - Tackling Inequalities in Health Across Greater Manchester” (2015) Good health outcomes from working with people to prevent problems and reduce service demands.
• “Personal Health Budgets: a revolution in personalisation” (2013) Healthcare interventions must move beyond industrial, one-size-fits-all models and recognise the lived experience of the individual, ‘making health personal’
• "Going with the Flow” (2014) A need for managed public debate to depoliticise the NHS and involve us all in decision making to ensure we have an NHS for the future
• “Fat Chance” (2015)
Robin Millar is a Board member of 2020Health and Acting Chief Executive while CEO Julia Manning takes a two month sabbatical. He can be contacted directly on 07939 100 937 and tweets at @arobinisforlife.