Meeting the Challenge: Future visions of healthcare
Author: Localis and Staffordshire County Council |
Meeting the Challenge
Future visions of healthcare
The recent Coalition government enacted sweeping reforms to the health system, perhaps most remarkably in the shape of the transfer of a 6m budget to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. With the newly elected Conservative government promising to pick up where they left off, the healthcare sector is likely to look somewhat different in a decade’s time – both in terms of the demands it faces and how it meets those challenges. This Localis essay collection considers what that future might look like.
Contributors come from across the political divide and all tiers of governance, and include Stephen Dorrell, Toby Lambert (Monitor), Cllr Philip Atkins (Staffordshire CC), Sir John Oldham, Dr Onkar Sahota (GLA) and Robert Webster (NHS Confederation). Each essay touches on the author’s specialism, examining what the health service might look like in several years time; the challenges it faces; and what can be done to improve those outcomes. A greater locally-minded approach to healthcare forms a significant strand of each of the essays.
Stephen Dorrell, former Secretary of State for Health, discusses why localism is crucial to the future of the NHS. He writes that local accountability in the NHS has for too long been dismissed as ‘politics’ and that the resulting disconnect between healthcare service provider and consumer leads to inevitable inefficiencies.
Toby Lambert, Director of Pricing at NHS Monitor, writes on the need to radically redesign health and social care services to deal with future demand. Local government, he argues, will need to be a key agency in this process, engaging with local communities to provide a service geared towards wellbeing and prevention.
Leader of Staffordshire County Council Cllr Philip Atkins highlights the importance of effective partnerships in delivering healthcare reform. He cites the example of Staffordshire which has developed a mechanism for bringing together local leaders from all parts of the county (the key city, all the districts and the county council) to speak with one voice.
Sir John Oldham, who chaired the recent Independent Commission on Whole Person Care that formed much of the Labour Party’s health policy, makes the case for multi-disciplinary integration of healthcare at the lowest level. Without such a change, he contends, the NHS and care system will remain focused on the challenges of 1945 – predominantly single diseases – rather than the very different challenges of 2015.
Dr Onkar Sahota, chair of the GLA Health Committee, discusses the future of General Practice. He proposes that hospital, community, GP and social service budgets should be put into a single envelope for a borough wide health population. This, he contends, will achieve the most efficient healthcare service.
And chief executive of NHS Confederation Robert Webster considers what a sustainable future healthcare workforce might look like. He argues that to meet the challenges of the future, workers will need to understand better resources in their local community.
Launching the report, Alex Thomson, chief executive of Localis said:
“I’m thrilled to publish an essay collection with such a stellar cast and pleasantly surprised to see such a strong flavour of localism across each of the essays. Hot on the heels of the remarkable transfer of a 6bn healthcare budget to Greater Manchester Combined Authority, this publication really does indicate that the future of healthcare is increasingly local.”