04 June 2015
Chief Exec's Blog - Putting the H back into NHS
Listening to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS at
the NHS Confederation conference was extremely challenging,
encouraging and promising.
The challenge is unsurprising, but provides a sobering dose of
reality for all of us in the care industry. Any new money is
dependent on our reducing waste and delivering greater efficiency
across the service. Delivering required performance remains
essential. The introduction of access targets for mental health is
a welcome step forward, albeit with the need to deliver all of this
within the context of increasing demand and major staffing
Encouraging in that there is a commitment to avoiding top down
reorganisation and enabling local system working that addresses the
particular circumstances of local communities. Also encouraging in
the commitment across national NHS bodies to this approach and that
plans will be developed from the bottom up.
Promising as there is a real commitment to emphasising and
realising the HEALTH in NHS ensuring prevention is the key to
sustainability of our service in the future. This bodes very well
for mental health and for achieving parity between physical and
mental health. Focusing on people's psychological needs will hugely
reduce the demands in physical health services; addressing the
complex and co-morbid conditions of older people with dementia will
reduce the need to admit, inappropriately, to acute hospitals.
Providing early intervention to young people experiencing first
episode psychosis achieves better outcomes and reduces dependency
on services later in the person's life.
So, broadening our thinking in terms of prevention and the role
that mental health can play in bringing benefit to the wider system
of care will be essential in tackling the challenges faced in
today's care services and more importantly in ensuring we
reinvigorate the H in our NHS.
With careful bottom up thinking and planning, just how far could