The NHS is one of Britain’s proudest achievements. And today its staff do a superb job treating record numbers of patients. Quite rightly, people to want to protect our NHS when it is under pressure but in doing this they also need to allow it to change and improve.
Since 1948, the NHS has constantly adapted itself and it must continue to do so as the world and our health needs also change. We are now able to treat people with new drugs and clinical care that wasn’t available in the past. As life expectancy increases, so do the ailments of old age and there are now more people with chronic conditions like heart failure and arthritis.
There are also big opportunities to improve care by making common-sense changes to how the NHS works. Improvements that matter, like making it easier to see a GP, speeding up cancer diagnosis and offering help faster to people with mental ill health.
This is why the NHS and local councils have come together in 44 areas covering all of England to develop proposals for health and care.
Each area has produced a sustainability and transformation plan for the next few years. With services feeling the strain, collaboration between organisations will give nurses, doctors and care staff the best chance of success.
Proposals have now been published for every part of England. They are all at different stages and now patients, the public and NHS staff must help to develop and shape them.
What does this mean for patients?
There are big opportunities to improve care by making common-sense changes to how the NHS works. Improvements like making it easier to see a GP, speeding up cancer diagnosis and offering help faster to people with mental ill health.
The NHS has a responsibility to patients to squeeze maximum value from every penny available. That means changing out-dated models of care so that patients don’t fall into the cracks between different parts of the system and we provide care based around their needs and not those of individual organisations.
By continuing to adapt to a changing world, the NHS will build a better service for future generations.
Sustainability and Transformation Plans were initially set out in the NHS Shared Planning Guidance and the support implementation of the Five Year Forward View. They will be supported by the six national health and care bodies: NHS England, NHS Improvement, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), Health Education England (HEE), Public Health England (PHE) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
You can find out more about the programme by looking at the frequently asked questions page. For more details about STPs, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the conversation on Twitter by following: @NHSEngland or by using the hashtag: #futureNHS.