Below is a description of the way the NHS currently looks after people (in this case an imaginary mum called 'Lisa') who are not usually unwell, but who might occasionally need care in a hurry. There is also a broad outline of how this could change in future. The description only gives you a general picture of the future - exactly how the NHS will change is not yet decided, and that is where you can help.
As you read the text below, please think to yourself: are there any changes you strongly want to see? Do you have any particular concerns? Is there anything that you feel is missing? Then please click the link at the bottom of the page to quickly tell us your thoughts.
The NHS now:
Lisa only uses the NHS occasionally, and neither she or her young family have any ongoing health problems to worry about.
At the moment, if someone like Lisa is worried about her health, or her children, she may be unsure which option to choose. She is worried that her GP surgery is busy, has heard mixed reports about the 111 helpline, and anyway her main priority is to get reassurance or treatment – and quickly. She knows that she might be able to get a same-day appointment at her local surgery, and has heard that pharmacies can be useful, but she’s not sure which is the right choice.
That means she is tempted to go to A&E, even though she’s not sure it is the ideal option.
The NHS in the future:
GP surgeries are increasingly likely to team up with each other – sharing staff, buildings, and skills.
For someone like Lisa that could mean that there is a wider pool of staff who could see her on the day when she feels she needs some urgent care, advice or reassurance. With practices working together, there could be a range of doctors, nurses or therapists available as Lisa’s first port of call, rather than her only relying on being able to contact a GP at her usual surgery.
This might mean that Lisa may be asked to travel a bit further for an appointment if that is what she needs, but her chances of getting a speedy appointment would be greater. With a wider range of staff available to help, this could free up the time of GPs – in turn that could not only help to reduce waiting times for non-urgent cases, but also allow doctors to spend more time caring for their most frail and poorly patients.
New technology would also allow more people to contact NHS staff without leaving their home. There should also be a simpler system set up so that it is easier for Lisa to know who to contact, and easier for the people she gets in touch with to be able to ensure that she sees the right person, at the first time of asking.
What do we need to know before this broad outline starts to turn into specific plans?
Please click here to tell us.