The NHS turns 65 today (July 5th 2013). To mark this milestone, the Nuffield Trust has published a compilation of 65 key commentators’ views reflecting on the state of the NHS and its future. These viewpoints – sometimes surprisingly outspoken – are arranged into three categories:
- Independent commentators.
Issues relating to dementia and elderly care feature prominently throughout. Some comments from renowned experts are too strong to repeat here.
“…we missed the best opportunity in the history of the NHS to actually reform it. We just threw money at it, rather than actually reforming it”. Rt Hon. Professor the Lord Darzi (p.38).
“Large numbers of frail elderly people, many with dementia, end up being admitted to hospital due to failures of care and then too often get stuck there because problems arise in arranging a suitable care package”. Norman Lamb MP (p.58).
Timmins, N. (ed.) (2013). The wisdom of the crowd: 65 views of the NHS at 65. London: Nuffield Trust, July 2013.
Other NHS Anniversary Events / Publications
Elderly patients to be assigned named clinician. London: BBC Health News, July 5th 2013.
Background Information: The New NHS Structure (King’s Fund)
The King’s Fund has produced a slide show and an enjoyable animation explaining how the NHS is structured. These information resources clarify how providers are regulated, the influences on commissioning of services and how funding flows.
How is the NHS structured? Presentation slide set. London: The King’s Fund, July 2013.
An alternative guide to the new NHS in England. Animation. London: The King’s Fund, July 2013.
NHS Faces Considerable Challenges in 2013/14
The following report summarises the results of auditors’ work for 2012/13 at NHS bodies, including NHS trusts, primary care trusts and strategic health authorities. It covers the challenges facing NHS bodies for 2013/14.
Auditing the accounts 2012/13: NHS bodies. London: Audit Commission, July 2013.
Update on Indicators of Financial Sustainability in the NHS: 2012-13 (National Audit Office)
This audit reviews the financial sustainability of the NHS trusts and foundation trusts which provide community, secondary and tertiary health services, and the PCTs which commissioned these services until late-2012 – early-2013.
There was a surplus of £2.1 billion across the NHS as a whole in 2012-13, roughly similar to that in 2011-12.
2012-13 update on indicators of financial sustainability in the NHS. London: National Audit Office (NAO), July 18th 2013.
NEJM / Lancet Commentaries
Black, N. (2013). Can England’s NHS survive? New England Journal of Medicine, July 4th 2013, 369(1), 1-3.
The NHS: free and caring or a market commodity? The Lancet, August 17th 2013, Vol.382(9892), p.571.
Chris Hopson of the FTN has questioned how well the policies outlined in two documents – one from the Department of Health (Jeremy Hunt’s vulnerable older people’s plan) and one from NHS England (NHS England’s 10 year strategy) – will work together.
Dreaper, J. (2013). NHS leader criticises ‘warring’ restructured health service. London: BBC Health News, September 2nd 2013.
Managing the Transition to the Reformed Health System (NAO)
The next report indicates that the quality of care assurance data is limited due to the lack of data on the quality of primary care, and that NHS reforms have cost £1.1 billion up to March 31st 2013 (15% more than expected).
Managing the transition to the reformed health system. London: National Audit Office (NAO), July 2013.
There is also an Executive Summary.
[Brief references to most of the items in this collection feature in Dementia and Elderly Care: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWNHST), Volume 3 Issue 9, August 2013].
On the Health and Social Care Divide (King’s Fund)
Nicholas Timmins’ presentation / webinar discusses how the nature and balance of the funding divide in England’s health and social care systems has drifted and shifted over time, from pre-NHS days to the present.
Timmins, N. (2013). The shifting nature of the health and social care divide. London: The King’s Fund, September 5th 2013.
Commentary From the Director of Research at Dr Foster Intelligence
“The change that is happening to the NHS is not deterioration in the quality of care. It is recognition that poor quality care is no longer acceptable… The paradox is that as the NHS gets better at saving lives, failure to provide the highest quality care becomes more and more unacceptable”.
Taylor, R. (2013). Time for ‘plain speaking’ about poor NHS care. London: BBC Health News, September 16th 2013.
More on Financial Deficits
Triggle, N. (2013). The return of the D-word. London: BBC Health News, October 1st 2013.
This relates to:
Summer report for the period 1 April to 31 July 2013. London: NHS Trust Development Authority, September 2013.
NHS Confederation’s 2015 Challenge
In October 2013 the NHS Confederation launched the “2015 Challenge”, challenging both (a) politicians to create the space for change in the NHS and (b) the NHS to make the necessary changes.
“A significant proportion of current health needs is elderly care, as well as long-term conditions. There are multiple overlaps… elderly people with multiple long-term conditions; an increasing number of people having long-term physical and mental health problems; care needs routinely stretching across health and social care; pressure appearing in parts of the system”.
NHS Confederation launches 2015 Challenge. London: NHS Confederation, October 13th 2013.