The NHS Confederation has released its report, NHS Reset: a new direction for health and care, as part of the NHS Reset campaign with the objective to reflect on learnings from the last six months and what it means for the way that health and care will be planned, commissioned and delivered in the future.
The NHS Confederation is a membership body of hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts, primary care networks, clinical commissioning groups and integrated care systems which aims to foster cooperation and communication in order to plan, commission and provide NHS services in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) Chief Executive Richard Torbett welcomed the report, stating:
“Pharmaceutical companies responded in unprecedented ways to support the NHS to respond to the COVID19 pandemic, and are ready to support the recovery…
“Industry will do all it can to help bring about a ‘new normal’ for the NHS, where it can manage COVID pressures while addressing health inequalities and revitalising services for patients.”
The report identifies five areas that are crucial in order to seize the scale and pace of innovation that has arisen as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Honesty and realism
“The pandemic’s impact on the capacity of the NHS is likely to go on for several years.”
- Sets manageable and achievable expectations for the full and safe restoration of services, as well as processing the huge backlog of care and treatment that has been delayed during the worst stages of the pandemic.
“It is clear that additional revenue and capital funding will be needed to cover the additional costs of rising demand, while also enabling the NHS to play catch up with the backlog of treatment.”
- Funding for the NHS is expected to be reassessed as part of the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in November 2020.
- There is an expected surge in demand for mental health services, which will be included in the NHS’ major transformation programme set out in the Long Term Plan to deliver a sustainable social care systems.
A lighter, leaner culture
“More than nine in ten leaders believe there must be much more flexibility and freedom for local NHS bodies to listen to and co-produce local services with patient groups and communities. “
- There is a strong push among local leaders and clinicians that the agile, innovative and lean way of working adopted during the pandemic must be sustained by stripping away unnecessary bureaucracy, reporting and regulation.
Integrating heath and care
“The UK Government and NHS England and NHS Improvement should work with representative bodies and their members to create a legislative framework which brings simplicity and clarity, a common purpose for local leaders, and the conditions to support system thinking, population health and local partnerships.”
- The integration of health and social care will be crucial to the sustainability of the NHS. This was exemplified by the pandemic response in many areas, when a common purpose broke down barriers and enabled service transformation.
Tackling health inequalities
“Almost three-quarters of NHS leaders believe that BME communities continue to have poorer access and outcomes from NHS services.”
- Inequalities in health outcomes of black and minority ethnic (BME) communities have been highlighted and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding and commitment towards a strategy based on population health will be required to reduce the level of health inequality for BME communities.
- A separate NHS Confederation report on Health Inequalities is also available
Read the full report for more on NHS Reset.