'Radical' new role for the NHS Future Forum

The NHS Future Forum is to investigate another four key aspects of the health reforms - and has been asked to suggest 'radical' new ideas.

Professor Field: NHS Future Forum will ‘be radical while we have the chance’
Professor Field: NHS Future Forum will ‘be radical while we have the chance’

Forum chairman Professor Steve Field said the first theme to be examined would be how to improve integration of clinical services around the needs of the patient.

The forum would also look at improving the use of information to help patients make choices and clinicians improve quality of care, as well as continuing the forum’s work on public health and education and training.

He said the chief executive of the new NHS Commissioning Board, David Nicholson, had told him to ‘be radical while we have the chance’.

Professor Field said: ‘He told us to be radical in our proposals in the next phase of the forum to try to make things really change while we have the chance.

‘So I think it is a chance to be really radical. It means doctors looking at the needs of their patients rather than looking at the needs of themselves professionally.

’It means social workers changing the way they work so that they understand more about how healthcare is provided, and vice versa.’

Professor Field was speaking in a debate on integrated care organised by the Kings Fund thinktank in London this week.

He said perverse incentives in the current system meant hospitals tried to prevent specialists speaking to GPs in case they missed out on payment for a referral.

Instead, healthcare professionals and organisations should be incentivised to work together, and the DoH encouraged to remove boundaries to integrated care: ‘There should be no distinction between primary and secondary care and the patient should feel that the service is seamless.’

Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, a former Devon GP, told the meeting that a successful integrated care pilot in Torbay had seen 20 GPs sharing their patient records with social care teams, in a ‘huge culture change’.

She said: ‘We have to have a relentless focus on what’s best for the patient. Let’s allow people to be innovative.’

Chief executive of the Kings Fund Professor Chris Ham said GPs could champion the cause of integrated care by using their new commissioning powers to develop better models of paying for care that ensured integration.

EDITORS BLOG: Integrated care could save the NHS - if only we could agree on what it means.

 

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