Why is this work necessary?
There are six broad reasons why the local NHS needs to change the way it works.
- Quality of care. All patients should get the best possible care, but the quality and safety of all our health services varies enormously and depends on where and when you are treated. For example, senior doctors are not always available round the clock for patients admitted to hospital in an emergency. People can’t always get help when they need to, for example from their GP or another health professional.
- Changes in what patients need. The needs of our population have changed, so we need to deliver health services differently. For example, people live longer and many more people are living with long term conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or dementia. This means we need more care in the community, including support to help people stay well. We are putting in place measures to reduce pressure on our hospitals, making them better able to provide specialist care for those patients who need it and to consistently meet the standards of care the NHS requires.
- Financial and workforce challenges. The cost of delivering health services is rising much faster than inflation due to innovative but costly new technologies and rapidly increasing demand from a rising and ageing population. There is also a national shortage of qualified staff such as GPs, nurses and specialist children’s doctors. Some staff roles are likely to change as we look to deliver services differently.
- Some of our buildings are not suitable for delivering high quality 21st century healthcare. We know we need to upgrade facilities in primary care, mental health, and some of our hospitals.
- The need for joined up services. Patients need services that work together and across professional boundaries, including with local councils. This does not happen effectively enough now and means their care can be fragmented.
- We can provide better care with the same budget. While the financial and staffing challenges are significant, there is compelling evidence that if we spend our money differently, we can get services that are both better and more affordable. (Examples include changes to London’s stroke, major trauma and cardiac services and the SWL elective orthopaedic centre).money differently, we can get services that are both better and more affordable.