Editor's Comment


Where’s the time?

Source: NHE Jul/Aug 16

In recent editions of NHE we have focused on the change taking place in the health sector, but one of the important pillars to deliver new models of care and financial sustainability is time. 

Unfortunately for the NHS, as we all know, ‘time waits for no man’. 

As you’ll see in this magazine we have coverage from the recent Commissioning Show and the NHS Confederation Annual Conference. At both these major events, sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) were the hot topic. However, many delegates started raising the issue of time or, more accurately, the lack of it to deliver the ambitious aims of the project. 

The Five Year Forward View (FYFV) is now a three-and-a-half-year plan, but as Professor Paul Corrigan, former director of strategy and commissioning of the NHS London Strategic Health Authority, told delegates at the Commissioning Show, we are currently investing in “propping up” models of care that are not fit for purpose, and we are not making the progress required on new models of care, like the Vanguards. 

While Prof Corrigan welcomes the overall aim of the FYFV, he says that some people have been lulled into thinking the problems of 2020 are that: problems in 2020, but they are not. The problems are here and we need to invest now if we are to remedy them. 

However, in order to deliver a step change, it is likely we’ll need to give local health economies the time, space and headroom to ensure their efforts are fruitful. Unfortunately, this might not be the case. 

For instance, the STPs, which were submitted at the end of June, have become soundboards and discussion documents to start with. But in the same breath, by the end of July, NHS Improvement, which I do believe wants to support trusts and FTs, has said that the footprints must come up with outline plans to consolidate back-office and pathology services. This is not a simple task and to have just a month to come up with a plan is a big ask, no matter who you are. 

The Local Government Association’s portfolio holder for community wellbeing, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, recently said that bringing the partners of integrated care together can be done quite quickly, but I agree with Dr Amanda Doyle, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners and an STP lead, who says that once they are round the table it can feel like bringing up the children. 

Throughout this edition we question whether the sustainable and financial change needed in the NHS is deliverable in the timescales set, especially following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. While we might not be able to provide the answers, one thing is clear, as NHS England’s CEO Simon Stevens said: “It is going to be bloody tough.”

David Stevenson



There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Lancashire County Council to pay £200k in legal costs after Virgin Care legal battle

17/08/2018Lancashire County Council to pay £200k in legal costs after Virgin Care legal battle

Lancashire County Council has agreed to pay £200,000 in legal costs to two NHS Trusts after their decision to hand a £104million cont... more >
Former inadequate West Midlands maternity unit upgraded by CQC

17/08/2018Former inadequate West Midlands maternity unit upgraded by CQC

Walsall Manor Hospital’s maternity services have been given an improved rating from the health inspectorate following assessments made in J... more >
Major hospital stalled by Carillion collapse will go ahead under government funding deal

16/08/2018Major hospital stalled by Carillion collapse will go ahead under government funding deal

The construction of a major Midlands hospital that had its future cast into doubt following the collapse of infrastructure giant Carillion has be... more >


Listening to the frontline

15/08/2018Listening to the frontline

Professor Wendy Reid, executive director of education & quality and national medical director at Health Education England (HEE), shares insig... more >
Medication without harm

15/08/2018Medication without harm

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Third Global Patient Safety Challenge, ‘Medication without harm,’ is ambitious, b... more >
Stepping up the fight against AMR

15/08/2018Stepping up the fight against AMR

Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Guidelines at NICE, explains what the organisation is doing to support the fight against antimic... more >

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 >

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 >


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 >
Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and a boar... more >

health service focus

View all News