A proposed 5 year plan for the NHS offers to save the NHS billions. It has been estimated by Simon Stevens, the NHS Chief Executive that the new 5 year plan will save £22 billion and there is scope for the NHS to make enormous savings. Interestingly, Simon Stevens has only been in post for the last 6 months. He is clearly trying to make a stand, get noticed and make people listen.
The five Year Forward View blueprint is the latest of many reports that have been published indicating such savings. Prior to that a report in October 2013 by Monitor, a NHS regulatory body stated that the NHS could save between £10 and £18 billion by 2021.
Not only does Simon Steven’s want to save the NHS billions, but he wants to see barriers removed and break down divides between GP’s and patients, consultants and hospitals. He is not a fan of the top down reorganizations but favours the development of new arrangements or models to suit the needs of the communities, such as allowing GP’s to provide a wider range of services which in turn will mean that they will become a larger care provider who may need to employ consultants and senior nurses to assist with the services. To me, it seems that the shift will then go from transferring the hospital services to GP services. The GP services will have to be in a position to have the staff and facilities to offer such services. Essentially hospital outpatients departments will be shifting their workload to the GP provider who will be seeking extra help and support to provide the services.
An alternative, would be for hospitals to open their own GP services. This would of course cost money and require staffing. It has been suggested that smaller hospitals ‘could be preserved if taken under the wing of larger institutions’.
One of the most radical options referred to in the plan is the development of
“Accountable Care Organisations” which are similar models to those in Spain and parts of the United States.
What this means is that there will be on organization taking Translated from the jargon, this means a single organisation which will re responsible for all of a local population’s health needs. This would mean that the largest hospital trust would take over everything in its area and this would include employing GP’s, community staff and providing acute care services. It all seems a bit ambitious given the financial standing of many NHS Trusts who are already over burdened with providing services, are often short staffed and underfunded.
Many GP’s are already overwhelmed with the pressure of their current level of patients and they themselves need immediate help is to reduce the pressure on their practices. T
The major concern in relation to any plans to redevelop such a large organization is that there must be the money in the pot to make these changes and any changes will need to be successful. Mr Stevens says that with the support of the health regulator Monitor, he has done some careful financial modelling.
In any event, for any of this to take effect the financial structure needs to be in place. It is all well and good saying that money can be saved but will services be improved, will improvements cost money and what saving will be made. Mr Stevens suggests that £8billion a year is what the NHS will need by 2021 but where is this money coming from? I cannot see any political party offering to offer funds.
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