NHS England: A Call to Action

Summary of "The NHS Belongs to the People"

Summary of "The NHS Belongs to the People"

Every day the NHS saves lives and helps people stay well. It is easy to forget that only

65 years ago many people faced choosing between poverty if they fell seriously ill or

forgoing care altogether. Over the decades since its inception the improvements in

diagnosis and treatment that have occurred in the NHS have been nothing short of

remarkable. The NHS is more than a system; it is an expression of British values of fairness, solidarity and compassion.

However, the United Kingdom still lags behind internationally in some important areas, such as cancer survival rates.1 There is still too much unwarranted variation in care across the country, exacerbating health inequalities. As the Mid-Staffordshire and Winterbourne View tragedies demonstrated, in some places the NHS is badly letting patients down and this must urgently be put right.

But improving the current system will not be enough. Future trends threaten the sustainability of our health and care system: an ageing population, an epidemic of

long-term conditions, lifestyle risk factors in the young and greater public expectations. Combined with rising costs and constrained financial resources, these trends pose the greatest challenge in the NHS’s 65-year history.

The NHS has already implemented changes to make savings and improve productivity. The service is on track to find £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015. But these alone are not enough to meet the challenges ahead. Without bold and transformative change to how services are delivered, a high quality yet free at the point of use health service will not be available to future generations. Not only will the NHS become financially unsustainable, the safety and quality of patient care will decline.

In order to preserve the values that underpin it, the NHS must change to survive. Change does not mean top-down reorganisation. It means a reshaping of services to put patients at the centre and to better meet the health needs of the future. There are opportunities to improve the quality of services for patients whilst also improving efficiency, lowering costs, and providing more care outside of hospitals. These include refocusing on prevention, putting people in charge of their own health and healthcare, and matching services more closely to individuals’ risks and specific characteristics. To do so, the NHS must harness new, transformational technology and exploit

the potential of transparent data as other industries have. We must be ready and able to share these data and analyses with the public and to work together with them to design and make the changes that meet their ambitions for the NHS.

So this document is a ‘Call to Action’ – a call to those who own the NHS, to all who use and depend on the NHS, and to all who work for and with it. Building a common understanding of the challenges ahead will be vital in order to find sustainable solutions for the future. NHS England, working with its partners, will shortly launch a sustained programme of engagement with NHS users, staff and the public to debate the big issues and give a voice to all who care about the future of our National Health Service. This

programme will be the broadest, deepest and most meaningful public discussion

that we have ever undertaken.

Bold ideas are needed, but there are some options we will not consider. First, doing nothing is not an option – the NHS cannot meet future challenges without change. Second, NHS funding is unlikely to increase; it would be unrealistic to expect

anything more than flat funding (adjusted for inflation) in the coming years. Third, we will not contemplate cutting or charging for core NHS services – NHS England is governed by the NHS Constitution which rightly protects the principles of a comprehensive

service providing high quality healthcare, free at the point of need for everyone.

The Call to Action will not stifle the work that clinical commissioning groups and their partners have already accomplished. It is intended to complement this work

and lead to five-year commissioning plans owned by each CCG. The Call to Action will also shape the national vision, identifying what NHS England should do to drive service change. This programme of engagement will provide a long-term approach to

achieve goals at both levels.

The NHS belongs to all of us. This Call to Action is the opportunity for everyone who

uses or works in the NHS to have their say on its future.

7 Replies

One of the key issues highlighted in this report is the increase in use of hospital emergency services, attributed to the ageing population and the rise in long term chronic illness. I would suggest another factor is the lack of availability of GP appointments. Most surgeries will not allow you to drop in and same day appointments are rarer than hens teeth. Worried carers or individuals will therefore turn to emergency departments where they know they will be seen.


There is a strong need for improved integration between NHS and other services in the community to support health outcomes, especially social care. A lot of cost incurred by the NHS can be reduced if its services are integrated with others so that the other support needs of clients ae better addressed and therefore do not undermine health work


It is the first time I hear 'prevention' being mentioned. I'm so glad that we are finally starting to look at how to prevent diseases from occurring - in today's NHS too much focus is given to masking the symptoms but not looking at cause. Many treatments are prescribed on a trial and error basis and many fail because not many doctors have the time or inclination to get to the bottom of what causes the symptoms. All those treatments cost and if they fail, that's a loss. A targeted treatment for a specific cause not only saves money but also prevents health deterioration. I agree that there is a lot that is unknown in terms of disease cause but if more effort (and money) is spent in understanding the cause, then prevention would be much easier to achieve.


I agree generally the NHS is great as are most of the people who work within it but find it sad when I have a negative experience we when I come away feeling uncared for and not helped the result is that I subsequently need more care which results in increased costs.


I think the NHS needs to focus on more preventative mecicine. Surely it is a lot better and cheaper if you catch it early. Like to hear from you


We must all pull together to save our NHS !!!!!


our parents started the NHS just after the WAR where staff and the public respected each other not like to day and in 65 years it went from great to

to rubbish, just like great Britain ,


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