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Lord Darzi calls for establishment of regional NHS headquarters

A single NHS headquarters should be created through a “radical simplification” of the system, according to Lord Darzi’s review of health and care with the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).

In his final report, Lord Darzi has put forward a 10 point plan to secure the NHS and social care for the future.

Darzi has called for the system to be simplified by joining up NHS England, Public Health England, NHS Improvement and Health Education England into regional NHS headquarters and simplifying commissioning functions into a single structure, forming five to 10 Health and Care Authorities as the strategic commissioners of health and care services.

The report argues that there should be investment in health, not just healthcare, embracing a “health in all policies” approach across the government and taking tackling obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption seriously.

There should also be a “tilt towards tech”, with investment in the digital infrastructure that the NHS needs to enable data sharing across the health and care system, and embracing “full automation" to release more time to care.

To unlock the potential of health as a driver of wealth there should be a “significant increase” in research and development spending and driving the uptake and access in the NHS by re-establishing the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as the “innovators gateway”.

Darzi also calls for a “New Deal” for general practice, mental health and community services, creating a new option of integrated care trusts for all out of hospital care, shifting power and funding away from the acute sector.

He argues for social care to be free at the point of need, extending the NHS’s “need, not ability to pay” principle to social care, fully funding the service as part of a “new social contract” between the citizen and the state, and for the creation of a coherent quality strategy for health and care to rebalance the drivers of change from control to improvement.

The report also calls for the revision of time and resources to transform health and care, creating a fully funded transformation fund for health and care to allow change to take hold, a long-term funding settlement to end the “feast and famine” cycle of funding, ring fencing National Insurance increases to pay for it, and ensuring that the sectors are properly staffed by creating an integrated skills and immigration policy and providing fair pay for staff.

Responding to the report, Saffron Cordery, chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “This report is a further helpful contribution to the debate on the future of health and social care.”

She agreed that it is right to emphasise the need for clarity over long-term funding and to ensure that sufficient time and resources are set aside to facilitate the transformation of services.

Cordery added: “And we agree that quality of care should be the organising principle for health and care.

“We would do well to hold fast to these principles as we shape services to meet future challenges.”

Taop image: Stephen Kelly via PA Archive 


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