What is the significance of Next steps?
NHS England boss Simon Stevens’ long-awaited policy document Next steps on the NHS five year forward view has been published, setting out plans for a new wave of accountable care organisations as well as improvements in cancer and mental health care, and improved GP access.
Mr Stevens describes the measures, which build on policies from the Five year forward view (2014), as ‘probably the biggest national move towards integrated care currently underway in any western country.’ Next steps also details an increased drive to improve efficiency, responsiveness and take advantage of opportunities through the use of science and technology.
Of particular interest to pharma and medtech is the emphasis on setting up nine areas as the first wave of accountable care organisations with integrated health systems comprising hospitals, GP surgeries, mental health and ambulance services, and social care providers.
Favourites to pioneer that approach are:
- Frimley Health, Surrey
- Greater Manchester
- South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw
- Blackpool and Fylde Coast
- Luton, Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire
- West Berkshire.
Other health services highlighted for development across England include:
- improved cancer care to save an extra 5,000 lives a year through the creation of 10 regional rapid diagnostic and assessment testing centres, screening programmes and upgraded radiotherapy machines. Next steps says early diagnosis of cancer should be improved with the aim of ensuring that by 2020 every cancer patient is diagnosed within 28 days. A £130m expansion of precision radiotherapy will see 42 hospitals acquire or upgrade their equipment
- 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, 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.
- creating a network of about 150 urgent treatment centres to take the strain of overcrowded A&E units
- It hardly needs stressing how important this document is to the development of the NHS and particularly its evolution under the Five year forward view’s policies. And if it matters to the NHS, then it matters to the industries selling into it
- Accountable care organisations are the future. How will this affect your relationships with contacts and customers?
- Read the full document to gain what you can from it, applying what you learn to your area of work. There are plenty of analyses to steer you through its intricacies and point out the most salient points. You could begin with the helpful list of stories gathered by the Health Service Journal. The link is in further information
- Read through the information on Next steps via the links in further information
NHS Confederation: Ambitious NHS plan a ‘leap in the dark’, Confed chief warns
NHS England: Next steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View
Nuffield Trust: NHS England plan has right vision but faces big stumbling blocks