Comment

19.12.18

The NHS Assembly: A moment to reset

Source: NHE Nov/Dec 2018

The development of the NHS long-term plan offers a reset moment: a chance to develop a credible, sector-owned blueprint designed to improve care for patients and the public, argues Leanora Volpe, policy officer at NHS Providers.

At a time when the NHS is undergoing a period of rapid transformation and services are facing ever-increasing pressures at the frontline, the case for meaningful engagement with those who are using and delivering services has never been clearer. The prospect of a new NHS Assembly to help challenge and support the delivery of the long-term plan is therefore an idea whose time has come. It presents a timely opportunity for NHS leaders within the national bodies to re-establish clear lines of engagement and co-production with the frontline as a fundamental pillar of robust policy development.  Here, we set out four key elements for the NHS Assembly to meet its potential as an influential forum for discussing the priorities for the NHS going forward.

A clear purpose and vision…

The NHS Assembly is likely to be comprised of diverse groups from across the health and care sectors, including representatives of commissioning, providers, patients, and the independent and voluntary sectors. The role and remit of the Assembly needs to be well-defined at the outset to ensure a clear focus on how the long-term plan can provide the NHS with sustainable solutions to the pressures it faces.

…underpinned by a realistic task

We know that the NHS is under increasing financial and operational pressures. The provider sector ended 2017-18 with a deficit of nearly £1bn, an overall 8% staff vacancy rate, and ongoing under-performance against key constitutional targets. Similar challenges are also being felt across primary and social care.

It’s clear that the NHS needs significant financial investment, and the public will expect something in return for the extra funding. However, any long-term plan needs to take into account the sector’s starting point, and be realistic about what trusts can achieve with the funding available. The plan has a greater chance of succeeding if it is underpinned by meaningful input from the frontline from the outset to ensure it represents an achievable and sustainable task. Any ask of the NHS should be agreed with those involved in the development of the plan and supported by a clear and realistic plan for how the service will deliver it.

Aligned with the 10-year plan

The NHS Assembly will not be convened in time to help inform the development of the long-term plan, so its members will need to be brought up to speed on the intentions and background to the proposals set out in the plan so that these priorities can be carried through in the work of the Assembly.

NHS trusts, clinicians, commissioners, and other staff on the frontline will be responsible for the frontline delivery of the NHS long-term plan; it is patients, the public and carers who will see the impact of any policy proposals set out in the plan. It’s therefore essential to make sure that the voices of those involved are heard. This includes membership organisations, royal colleges and, importantly, patient representative groups.

While the NHS Assembly is a welcome new development, it cannot provide the depth and breadth of engagement needed to design an achievable long-term plan for the NHS alone. There is a need for regular, detailed and bespoke engagement with the bodies representing different parts of the NHS and the workforce within them, and those representing patients, carers and families, to continue alongside the work of the Assembly. 

As the membership body for trusts within the sector, we look forward to working with the national bodies to help ensure the success of the new Assembly, and to play our part in ensuring the voice of the frontline continues to be heard as we seek to meet our ambitions for the NHS over the next decade.

 

Enjoying NHE? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

NHS England, DHSC rejects reports that patients’ 30-year right to choose where they are treated is under threat

22/02/2019NHS England, DHSC rejects reports that patients’ 30-year right to choose where they are treated is under threat

NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have rejected reports that the rights of patients to be able to choose where they... more >
NHS staff and families to be evicted under plans to close accommodation

22/02/2019NHS staff and families to be evicted under plans to close accommodation

Staff at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust could be forced out of their homes as the trust’s plans to close the accommodation at ... more >
NHS staff to receive ‘fast-track’ mental health support as part of wellbeing plans

21/02/2019NHS staff to receive ‘fast-track’ mental health support as part of wellbeing plans

The government has pledged to provide better mental health and wellbeing support for NHS staff as part of its ‘workforce implementation pla... more >
681 149x260 NHE Subscribe button

the scalpel's daily blog

Did Brexit drown out the NHS Long Term plan?

20/02/2019Did Brexit drown out the NHS Long Term plan?

In January the NHS released its much-anticipated Long Term plan, pledging to save 500,000 lives through new prevent strategies, and making a concerted effort to improve the general public’s health. But Simon Keen, media relations manager at NHS Providers, poses the question: Did Brexit drown out the NHS Long Term plan? Brexit. Brussels. Backstop. It would be hard to argue that Brexit hasn’t dominated the news agenda at ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

health service focus