The NHS has published its new 10 year long-term plan (document updated June 2019). The plan aims to save 500,000 lives through its proposals which are enabled through Government investment – £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023/24.
The plan itself comprises seven chapters. These chapters detail:
- a new NHS service model which aims to give more options to patients
- a new funded action program to strengthen the NHS’s contribution to prevention and health inequalities
- an account of the NHS’s priorities for care quality and outcomes improvement
- a plan for how current workforce pressures will be tackled
- a funding programme to upgrade technology and digitally care in the NHS
- how the Government plan to put the NHS back on a sustainable financial path
- how this plan will be implemented
One of the major insights gathered from the plan involves the new model of care which the NHS will aim to develop. This concerns both operational and technological developments.
“…sets out five major, practical, changes to the NHS service model to bring this about over the next five years:
1. We will boost ‘out-of-hospital’ care, and finally dissolve the historic divide between primary and community health services.
2. The NHS will redesign and reduce pressure on emergency hospital services.
3. People will get more control over their own health, and more personalised care when they need it.
4. Digitally-enabled primary and outpatient care will go mainstream across the NHS.
5. Local NHS organisations will increasingly focus on population health and local partnerships with local authority-funded services, through new Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) everywhere.” – NHS long-term plan
Specifically for Medtech companies, the plan also highlights how innovations will be accelerated through a new funding mandate. The report states that this will significantly increase the number of NICE evaluations for these products. This will be complimented by ‘individualised support’ coordinated by NHS England and NHS Improvement which will promise to increase adoption across the NHS.
In launching the plan, NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens focused the plan’s rationale – citing ‘the three big truths’ which have grounded the long-term plan.
“…the national debate has rightly centred on three big truths. There’s been pride in our health service’s enduring success, and in the shared social commitment it represents. There’s been concern – about funding, staffing, increasing inequalities and pressures from a growing and ageing population. And there’s also been legitimate optimism – about the possibilities for continuing medical advance and better outcomes of care.” – Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive
The reaction from the healthcare industry has been largely positive in regard to the aims of the plan and also the fresh Government investment planned for the NHS.
“It’s good to have a plan which sets a clear direction for the NHS and tackles many of the issues the Academy has long been saying need to be addressed if we are to improve patient care,” – Professor Carrie MacEwen, chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.
However, certain NHS leaders have expressed caution in terms of how the plan may develop through its implementation.
“Plans are fine but the challenge is how they are implemented and we will be watching closely to see whether this plan meets three key tests of it set by our members who are leading front-line services.” – Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation