Changes to the NHS can sometimes look and feel like a threat. With need rising faster than funding, it is understandable that there will be concern about the future.
In reality, of course, change is going on all the time and it can bring about real improvements to care – such as extended opening hours, better treatments, or new technology. The pressure on staff and services is real, but that doesn’t mean that improvements cannot be made.
The future of health and care – what we already know
In general terms, we know that.....
...better IT links mean that more health teams can share your medical record – that should mean truly ‘joined up’ care from staff who know your history, which tests you have had, and whether you are waiting for other appointments. Instead of starting from scratch every time you see a new member of staff, you will be talking to someone who has the information they need to understand your needs, and to make informed decisions about your care.
...the traditional barriers between organisations can be broken down. Different groups of staff can be brought closer together – not just as a nice theory, but in reality. Community nurses, your GP practice, and hospital teams could work together as a single team, using shared IT and working practices to team up, and deliver better standards of care than ever before.
...patients can use technology to communicate with healthcare professionals more effectively than before – booking appointments, checking test results, monitoring their own health, and even talking with specialists in real-time, using internet services on their phones, tablets, or home computers.
The future of health and care – what we still don’t know
Although the overall direction of travel is clear, there is much that is not yet decided, and where your feedback can help to influence thinking. For example...
...which services should be available within the community, and which need to stay in big hospitals?
...which types of staff should be available, where, when, and how, to give patients the most convenient, effective care?
...how can people be better supported to look after their own health more effectively, and can digital technology support that?
Do you have a view on these questions? If so, please let us know: “Your Big Health Conversation – talk to us”