Next steps on Five Year Forward View


NHS England has, as the NHS approaches its 70th anniversary, released a press release today (March 31) about its plan to deliver practical improvements in areas prized by patients and the public – cancer, mental health and GP access – while transforming the way that care is delivered to ease pressure on hospitals by helping frail and older people live healthier, more independent lives.

It said these measures, which are probably the biggest national move towards integrated care currently underway in any Western country, will also help to put the service on a more sustainable footing for the future. With the NHS under pressure this plan, Next Steps On The NHS Five Year Forward View, also details an accelerated drive to improve efficiency and use of technology in order to deliver better care and meet rising demand within the constraints of available resources.

Two-and-a-half years on from the publication of the NHS Five Year Forward View, the plan spells out what has been achieved and the changes which will take place across the health service in key areas:
– Improved cancer care aimed at saving an extra 5,000 lives a year through new one-stop testing centres, screening programmes and state of the art radiotherapy machines.
– Boosting mental health services by increasing beds for children and young people to cut out of area care, more beds for new mothers and more mental health professionals in the community and hospitals to prevent crisis admissions.
– Better access to GP services with everyone benefiting from extended opening in the evenings and weekends, newly designated ‘Urgent Treatment Centres’ and an enhanced 111 service to ease pressure on A&Es.
– Better care for older people by bringing together services provided by GPs, hospitals, therapists, nurses and care staff, cutting emergency admissions and time spent in hospitals.
– Driving efficiency and tackling waste to make money invested in the NHS go further in delivering the services and staff that patients want, including the latest treatments and technology.

Launching the plan, NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens said: “Heading into our 70th year, public support for the NHS is as strong as ever but so too are the pressures on our frontline staff.
“Today we chart a course for practical care improvements for the next few years. We do not underestimate the challenges but, get these right, and patients, staff and the tax-paying public will notice the benefits.”

The document outlines significant progress made over the last three years, including record high cancer survival rates; 8,000 extra doctors and nurses; the first ever waiting time standards for mental health treatment being introduced and met; and cutting waste – in particular agency staffing bills.
It also sets out where progress has not been as quick, with rising pressure on A&E and acute wards partly caused by delayed transfers of care.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said: “We welcome this delivery plan, and will work with NHS England to ensure it is delivered successfully and engages with patients nationally and locally.
“This is essential both to ensure that the importance of change is understood by everyone, and to get input from patients about how new and re-designed services can meet their needs.
“We call on decision-makers nationally and locally to support this process, to ensure that NHS services work well for patients now and in the future.”

Sir David Behan, Chief Executive of the Care Quality Commission, said: “The NHS and the wider health and care system needs a clear direction of travel if it is to meet both the current and future demands of the people across the country, who deserve nothing less than safe, high quality and compassionate care. “Through our inspections, the case for change has never been more obvious.
“It is important that leaders across health reach out to their colleagues in local authorities to break down organisational barriers so that collectively, they can ensure people’s needs are always put first.
“The good news is that we are seeing this already through our inspection findings, with the development of the sustainability and transformation plans, and with the Government’s additional investment in social care.
“For the Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View to be a success, it should not just be seen as a plan for the NHS but for local authorities to actively engage in too – only this will bring about real and sustainable improvements in quality.”

In response to this, Healthwatch England’s National Director Imelda Redmond said:
“This plan always needed to be ambitious yet realistic about the challenges the NHS faces, and there were always going to be some tough decisions set out.
“It’s encouraging to see that the starting point has been what people said they want from the future of their health and care services.
“By drawing on the insight gathered by the Healthwatch network, built out of the conversations our staff and volunteers have with hundreds of thousands of people every year, the NHS plan directly reflects people’s priorities such as faster and more flexible access to primary care and a significant focus on improving mental health support.
“And while no one in pain should have to wait longer for an operation, being pragmatic about some waiting targets will undoubtedly free up resources to help the NHS re-prioritise to meet people’s most pressing needs.
“What we need is for patients and their families to speak to their local Healthwatch, tell us how any increase in waiting times is affecting them and help us ensure that 18 weeks doesn’t slip back to 18 months.
“These sorts of tough choices are having to be made all across the country as the new sustainability and transformation plans come in.
“We know that local Healthwatch have been offering advice to those in charge on how to really involve their local communities.
“But it is great to see such strong messages coming from the top on the need for professionals and the public to work together as equal partners in the big decisions ahead.”

Communications officer at Healthwatch Cornwall Josie Purcell said: “Whatever we face locally in regard to changes to service, we are here to listen to the voice of those who need them.
“Our seat at the Shaping Our Future board enables us to monitor public involvement and feed in the comments we receive about care services too so, in light of national guidelines, our services here continue to deliver high quality care at a time of transformation.”

Read the full report at: