Safeguarding the NHS for the Future

Published on Wednesday, 11 May 2011 15:54
Posted by Scott Buckler

Marking the first anniversary of the Coalition Government, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley today set out the progress made delivering the health commitments in the Coalition Agreement (May 11th)

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said:

Over the last 12 months, we've made great progress in building a stronger NHS for the future - from giving patients more choice and control over their care, to reducing bureaucracy and waste in the NHS, whilst keeping performance up.
“We are investing an extra £11.5 billion and reinvesting every penny of efficiency savings back into frontline care, meaning £1.7 billion a year by 2014/15 will be reinvested to improve services for patients.

“We’ve taken swift action to have a cancer drugs fund, recruit more health visitors, rolled out nurse-led unannounced hospital spot-checks, and ensuring proper support is in place for patients being discharged from hospital to prevent unnecessary readmissions. The number of monthly breaches of mixed-sex accommodation has gone down since we started to publish the data. We have also removed bureaucratic targets while keeping waiting times remain broadly stable.

“We have clear support for the principles of reform and we are listening and reflecting so we can give better effect to those principles. During this pause, there will be over 200 events across the country. We have already received over 700 letters, over 1000 comments on the website, and 400 responses from patients, public and NHS staff. But we encourage more people to participate and safeguard the future of the NHS.”

Key achievements include:

Giving patients more choice and power:

•    More data easily available to patients and the public than ever before – including weekly publications on MRSA, C. Difficile, and A&E; and ambulance performance.
•    Additional money to support people back into their homes after a spell in hospital - £70 million last year, £150 million in 2011/12, and £300 million every year from 2012/13 to 2014/15.
•    Changed the rules on how hospitals are paid to make them responsible for patients for 30 days after discharge, ensuring the best care and best support services for patients after they leave hospital.
Reducing bureaucracy and waste:
•    Every penny saved from efficiencies will be reinvested into frontline services to improve quality for patients, along with the additional £11.5 billion that will be invested in the NHS by 2015.
•    Since May 2010, the NHS has gained 2,500 more doctors and has 3,000 fewer managers.
•    £700 million of savings on NHS IT contracts.
Improving NHS performance:
•    Waiting times remain low, inpatients waiting for an average of around 9 weeks and outpatients for just 3.5 weeks.
•    The number of times patients placed in mixed-sex accommodation without clinical justification has fallen by over 4,200 from 11,802 in December – a fall of 36 per cent.
•    C. Difficile infections have fallen by a fifth and MRSA infections have fallen by a quarter.
Investing in the future:
•    The new Cancer Drugs Fund will see £600 million invested over the next three years to help cancer patients get greater access to cancer drugs their doctors recommend for them.
•    Up to £400 million over the next four years will mean that a person’s mental health is treated with the same importance as their physical health. This funding will help an extra 3.2 million people access NICE-approved psychological therapies.
•    There is a new drive to recruit 4,200 health visitors over the next four years.
Modernising the NHS:
•    The first ever 'NHS Outcomes Framework' was published in December to shift the NHS focus towards the things which really matter most to patients.
•    Over 6,500 GP practices have come forward to form GP consortia covering almost 90% of the population.
•    9 in 10 councils are establishing Health and Wellbeing Boards
•    Clear, national quality standards have been published for eight conditions: chronic kidney disease; dementia; depression in adults; diabetes in adults; glaucoma; specialist neonatal care; stroke; and venous thromboembolism.
•    Up to 25,000 NHS staff – delivering almost £1 billion of NHS community services – are transforming themselves into social enterprises, supporting the Government's Big Society agenda.

The Government introduced the Health and Social Care Bill in January 2011 which set out plans to modernise the health service to ensure it can meet the demands of an ageing population and rising costs of treatment, and safeguard it for the future.
The Government has used the natural break in the Parliamentary timetable to take the opportunity to pause and listen to views on plans to modernise the NHS. The NHS Future Forum has arranged over 200 separate discussions and meetings to listen to doctors, nurses, patients and public representatives.

This week alone, 11 listening events were arranged for Future Forum members, Ministers and clinical leaders. We are working with patient organisations and the NHS at local level to arrange meetings in every region across the country.


Source: DH

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