10 Downing street depicting the next general election

Politicians should back ‘next generation NHS’ ahead of general election, say trust leaders

NHS Providers is urging politicians to get behind five new priorities to deliver “next generation NHS” ahead of the general election.

The organisation has published A picture of health: delivering the next generation NHS, which sets out a vision for both government and health services to collaborate so they can unlock the maximum social and economic value of the NHS.

The briefing outlines five key priorities, including to reaffirm the commitment of the NHS to improve healthcare for everyone and reduce inequalities.

Actions for key stakeholders feature a new health and care strategy that evaluates the needs of the entire population now and in the long-term.

It also includes the reform and proper funding of social care to put it in a sustainable position.

All government departments should also incorporate health impact assessments into their work, taking into account how things like transport, environmental services, and criminal justice affect health.

The second priority is to build a new NHS infrastructure programme, which centres around clearing the maintenance backlog, addressing instances of unsafe reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete, and enabling the digitisation of the NHS on an industrial scale.

“We need an NHS fit for the future with patients and communities at the centre of every conversation.”

Third is to nurture a thriving health and care workforce, which NHS Providers says will come from delivering the NHS long-term workforce plan.

Alongside this is to implement the Messenger report, continue the work already underway to improve EDI, and collaborate with unions, royal colleges and other partners to show a commitment to valuing and upskilling staff.

Priority number four is to cultivate a culture that encourages innovation, improvement and openness.

Actions outlined to enable this include maintaining consistent national messaging on the role of improvement, championing a learning culture, as well as enhancing the UK and NHS status as a world-leader in research through regulatory support and international partnerships.

The final priority is to make sure care is provided in the right place at the right time.

NHS Providers says this means government and health services must increase the amount of patient demand met within primary and community care, in addition to continuing investment in data and interoperability skills so resources are used where they are needed the most.

Chief executive at NHS Providers, Sir Julian Hartley, said: "As a general election approaches we urge politicians to rally round our 'next generation' NHS. We need an NHS fit for the future with patients and communities at the centre of every conversation.”

He added: "A healthy economy relies on a healthy population. The NHS is the keystone in the nation's health and can help to drive national productivity. The government and the NHS must work hand in hand to create the picture of health we all want to see."

Image credit: iStock

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