NHS England has launched it’s Long Term Plan outlining priorities for the NHS in England over the next 10 years. Recognising the pride that is held in the NHS in its 70th year; growing concerns about NHS funding, staffing, increasing inequalities and pressures from a growing and ageing population and the optimism for future possibilities for continuing medical advance and better outcomes of care, the report, developed in consultation with patients, patients’ groups, professional bodies and frontline NHS leaders describes the changes planned over the next decade.
In summary these include:
How the NHS will move to a new service model in which patients get more options, better support, and properly joined-up care at the right time in the optimal care setting
The action the NHS will take to strengthen its contribution to prevention and health inequalities
The priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement for the decade ahead.
How current workforce pressures will be tackled and staff supported.
A wide-ranging and funded programme to upgrade technology and digitally enabled care across the NHS
How the 3.4% five year NHS funding settlement will help put the NHS back onto a sustainable financial path.
And, how the plan will be implemented.
The report recognises the role of pharmacy and pharmacy professionals play to support the delivery of the plan.
In response to the report, Tess Fenn, APTUK President said “The report rightly recognises the role of pharmacy as a fundamental partner in the provision of community-based health care and the inclusion of the pharmacy team in new Primary Care Networks is welcomed. Making better use of community and GP pharmacist’s clinical skills further enables and enhances the supporting role of the pharmacy technician. The benefits of medication reviews for care home residents, many of which are now carried out by NHSE MOCH funded pharmacy technicians, in reducing risk and preventing hospital admissions, is recognised and will be rolled out further. Providing NHS Health Checks, supporting early detection and prevention of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and increasing the numbers of physical health checks for people with mental health problem are all areas in which the pharmacy team will impact on the prevention agenda described in the plan. Improving outcomes through support and education of patients to enable them to get the best from their medication, reduce waste and promote self-care is also recognised in the report and Pharmacy Technicians are well placed to deliver on this aspect of the plan. APTUK looks forward to working collaboratively with patients and the public, professional partners, NHSE and the Government to realise the ambitions within this plan.
350,000 more children and young people would have access to mental health services, though the baseline for this target is not clear. The 2015 Forward View for Mental Health promised access for “at least 70,000” more.
Number 10 also said the NHS would “for the first time ever… test and introduce comprehensive access standards for mental health”, though no more details have been given.
Priority services for expansion include 24 hour mental health crisis care, and specialist services for new and expectant mothers and for adults aged 18-25, who can face a “cliff edge” when they leave services for children only.
There is little mention of workforce or the funding for the plan to succeed. A full workforce plan is expected later this year
Mr Stevens said in November the plan would not “definitively” deal with workforce, public health and capital issues, as these budgets depend on the government spending review later this year.
No detail has been given on the promise to make £700m in back office savings
On the expansion of personal health budgets, an ambitious new five year target will be set, aiming to take the current number of about 30,000 up to around 200,000.
The long term plan will set specific priorities for the NHS for the next five years and some improvement ambitions over a decade, responding to the government’s announcement in the summer of a five year funding settlement for the NHS England budget.
Using digital technology better is a no-brainer, and the push towards greater integration - code for more co-ordination between strands of the NHS and local authority-funded social care in the interests of the patient rather than the system