Health Policy

06.02.19

Healthwatch: Long-term plan is just the start

Source: NHE Jan/Feb 2019

National director of Healthwatch England, Imelda Redmond CBE, looks ahead to the future of the health service as the long-term plan takes effect, and outlines what her organisation has done, and is doing, to engage local health workers and patients alike.

The NHS Long-Term Plan, and the increased financial investment being made in the NHS, are a very welcome start to the New Year.

What’s also welcome is the extent to which the NHS has taken on board the views and experiences of its users as they have developed the plan.

People’s voices can be an immensely powerful way of creating improvements in health and social care, when they are listened to – that’s why the Healthwatch network is here. We actively seek people’s stories and ideas to find out what people want to see done differently. Indeed, over the development of the plan, we shared the views and experiences of over 85,000 people with NHS England to help shape their thinking.

We were therefore pleased to see the plan directly address so many of the issues, both big and small, that the public have been raising with us.

Joined-up care

In particular, it’s positive to see the emphasis on primary care and how technology will be used to make it easier for people to see a GP. It was also encouraging to see the plan talk about greater support for people living in care homes to reduce the number of emergency admissions to hospital. 

The commitment to more joined-up care in the community is also an important step. In the thousands of conversations we have with people across the country, they have highlighted the importance of services working together to provide people with a seamless experience of care. Nowhere is this more important than at the transition between hospital and home, where services need to help each other to get people home quickly and safely, and help them stay out of hospital.  

Mental health

In recent years we have seen the NHS place growing emphasis on mental health, responding to people’s growing desire to see parity with physical health. Whilst this is positive, in our contribution to the plan we challenged NHS England to be even more ambitious, particularly when it comes to support for children and young people. It is therefore great to see them aiming to reach 100% of young people who need specialist support by the end of the next decade.

With the national plan now in place, the focus moves on to how the priorities will be translated into action at a local level.

Local engagement

As those working in health and social care know well, every area has diverse health needs and each community will have a unique way of interacting with services. It is therefore important that local communities have the ability to shape and inform the implementation of the long-term plan where they live.

Across the country, communities will now come together with those running local hospitals and doctors’ surgeries to work out how this national plan is going to work in their area.

In December, it was announced that Healthwatch has been commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement to support this next phase of the plan by conducting local engagement activity in every part of England. With a network of 152 local organisations, supported by more than 5,000 volunteers, we have a unique reach into communities up and down the country, which over the last five years has helped us hear from over 1.4 million people.

The investment from the NHS in this engagement exercise is recognition of our ability to bring significant and independent insight into the planning processes at a regional and local level, and how this will be of real value to the local plans. It is also recognition of how key it is to the success of the long-term plan that communities are involved.

We are currently in the process of appointing 42 lead local Healthwatch, mapped to the STP/ICS footprints, who will be responsible for coordinating engagement activity and reporting back on their findings. These Healthwatch will be working in partnership with their local system leaders to jointly set the priority for engagement activities and to ensure the insight gathered is both heard and addressed as they pull together their local plans. 

We all know the health and social care sector faces big challenges, and even with the direction now set by the plan, the resources for delivering it will continue to be tight. It has never been more important to make sure that any changes introduced will actually work for people.

Listening to people and using their insight to inform decisions and track performance, therefore, needs to become an integral part of the DNA of health and care in England.

 

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 SBS framework launched to help safe return of employees

09/07/2020NHS SBS framework launched to help safe return of employees

A new procurement framework has been launched by NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) to help facilitate the safe return of NHS and other publi... more >
CQC carrying out rapid reviews to prepare for future pressures

09/07/2020CQC carrying out rapid reviews to prepare for future pressures

In an effort to help health and social care service providers best learn from the experience of responding to coronavirus around the UK, the Care... more >
Three steps to accelerate the value of data in the NHS

09/07/2020Three steps to accelerate the value of data in the NHS

Adam Mayer, Senior Manager at Qlik It’s no secret that the NHS has been under huge pressure over the last few months. The pandemi... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’v... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us th... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

03/07/2020NHS at 72: Managing mental health services going forward

Sean Duggan, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Network Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the amazing achievements of our health system over the past few months. But as we recognise the best of the NHS and its response to the Covid-19 crisis we must not forget that for mental health the peak has yet to come. Covid-19 ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental health and wellbeing. As the best rugby players in the world repr... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Being on the receiving end of some “thanks” can make communit... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professionals as new research reveals how shockingly under-vauled our NHS, edu... more >
Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

10/06/2019Creating the Cardigan integrated care centre

Peter Skitt, county director and commissioner for Ceredigion Hywel Dda University Health Board, looks ahead to the new integrated care centre bei... more >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual conference, Matt Hancock highlighted what he believes to be the three... more >
NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teesside domestic

Over 20 years ago, a Teesside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took steps towards her midwifery dreams. Lisa Payne has been delivering ... more >
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 >

health service focus

View all News