How patient-centred are we these days? Are health and social care becoming more attuned to the needs of service users, carers and communities? These are vital questions as we approach next year’s general election. At our annual conference on 26 March, National Voices members will consider what progress has been made, what still needs to be done and what politicians ought to do, and not do.
My week has been dominated by Care.Data. The exam question: how to rescue the NHS’s (so-far) ill-fated programme to link up patient data from hospitals with patient data from GP-held records? I have had discussions, phone calls and Twitter exchanges. I have reviewed the Health Select Committee hearings. I have been invited to high level meetings.
Out of all this emerges an outline agenda for getting it right. I am eager to share this with you now.
For decades patients and patients’ groups have been calling for something called a statutory “Duty of Candour”. That is, a legal requirement to tell patients or their family if they have been harmed in healthcare.
In the shifting sands of health and social care, there is one thing that remains constant. This is the need to cut across boundaries, remove silos and work in a joined-up manner to deliver genuinely coordinated, patient-centred care. Every time you get people in health to talk about the big issues facing the sector, you can be sure that the issue of joined-up working and joined-up care will come up.
The Department of Health has now published its response to a consultation on plans to extend charging for migrants and visitors accessing the NHS. The response and implementation plans make clear the government’s commitment to bringing in these changes. These will involve huge changes to the way the health services are delivered with far reaching implications. We are very concerned and here is why.
First we should acknowledge that the initial consultation proposed charging for primary care consultations, a proposal which has, thankfully, been dropped now. However, plans to charge for A&E services remain, as well as extending charging to other areas of care.
2013 has been another turbulent year in health and care. The widening gap between demand and funding has revealed problems aplenty. We have been living through the massive organizational changes created by the 2012 Act. And the year has been overshadowed by the Francis Report on mid Staffordshire and all the reviews and reactions that came in its wake, including a major reform of regulation.
At National Voices we have been having some great conversations around care and support planning. Here we’d like to introduce you to one of its champions, the award-winning Dr Ian Greaves, of Gnosall Surgery, to share some of his innovative ideas. And congratulations to Ian and his fellow Staffordshire GPs for winning the NHS Innovation Challenge Prize for Dementia last month.
Today the Integrated Care and Support Pioneers have their inaugural workshop. Anya de longh will be talking to representatives from the pioneer areas about what personalisation really means from the perspective of someone living with several long term health conditions. Here, she shares her thoughts:
It is a real privilege to talk to the integration pioneers about personalisation and what that means to me, as someone who lives with several long term health conditions.
I was delighted if rather surprised to see today that I am in a new list of top 30 charity CEOs on social media. Only 2 years ago I was a self-avowed sceptic about social media, dismissive of LinkedIn, averse to Facebook (still am) and wary of Twitter. I reluctantly began tweeting under the National Voices @NVTweeting account in January 2012, only after gentle if irresistible encouragement from our communications lead Jules Acton. Within 5 days I was chafing at the constraints of an organisational account and began tweeting as myself.