The NHS belongs to the people


11 / 7 / 2013 12.25pm

The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action sets out the challenges faced by the NHS including people living longer with more long term health conditions, increasing costs of treatments and healthcare provision and rising expectation of patients. All of this is set against a backdrop of flat funding which despite successes in delivering savings and efficiencies through QIPP; NHS England has said the gap could reach £30 billion by 2020.

Some recent headline facts help illustrate the challenges the NHS faces:

  • The NHS treats around one million people every 36 hours
    Between 1990 and 2010, life expectancy in England increased by 4.2 years
  • The difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest parts of the country is now 17 years
  • Around 80 per cent of deaths from major diseases, such as cancer, are attributable to lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excess alcohol and poor diet
  • One quarter of the population (just over 15 million people)  has a long term condition such as diabetes, depression, dementia and high blood pressure – and they account for fifty per cent of all GP appointments and seventy per cent of days in a hospital bed
  • Hospital treatment for over 75s has increased by 65 per cent over the past decade and someone over 85 is now 25 times for likely to spend a day in hospital that those under 65
  • The number of older people likely to require care is predicted to rise by over 60 per cent by 2030
  • Around 800,000 people are now living with dementia and this is expected to rise to one million by 2021.

The publication reasserts the values of fairness and compassion that underpin the NHS but suggests that in order to preserve the values, the NHS must change to survive. Change, it states should not be about a top down reorganisation but a more fundamental change in the way services are provided and an increased focus on keeping people well.

The document discusses the key problems and opportunities that a renewed vision for the health service must address. NHS England makes a commitment to working with key partners to analyse the causes of the trends and share these so that a more open approach to generating solutions can be achieved.

This call to action includes a programme of engagement that aims to allow everyone to contribute to the debate about the future of health and care provision in England. More information is available on the NHS England website. Partner organisations working with NHS England include:

  • Monitor
  • NHS Trust Development Authority
  • Public Health England
  • NICE
  • Health and Social Care Information Centre
  • Local Government Association
  • The steering group of the NHS Commissioning Assembly
  • Health Education England
  • Care Quality Commission


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