The NHS in England is to be reformed so that health and care services can work more closely together, according to the government

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the proposed restructuring would put a focus “on the health of the population, not just the health of the patient.”

But Labor questioned the timing of the changes “in the midst of the biggest public health crisis our NHS has ever faced”, saying staff were exhausted

“The pandemic hasn’t made the changes in this white paper any less urgent,” Hancock told MPs

The move changes the law to reverse the NHS reforms introduced in England in 2012 under Prime Minister David Cameron

Ministers believe the changes will put the NHS in a better position to cope with an aging population and an increase in people with complex health conditions

Every third patient hospitalized in an emergency has five or more conditions, including diabetes, obesity, or asthma, up from a tenth a decade ago

Health care workers said many of the rules in force were time consuming, frustrating, and stressful

Announcing the changes to the MPs, Mr Hancock said the new system would result in the NHS and local councils making joint decisions on local health

Organizations known as “Integrated Care Systems” that already exist in some parts of the country are formed in each part of England and are responsible for funding to support the health of that area

“Not only will they provide the treatments they need, but they will also help people stay healthy in the first place,” Hancock said

In response to criticism of timing, Hancock said the pandemic “made clear the importance of disease prevention in the first place”

Nigel Edwards of the Nuffield Trust think tank said the changes would be “rewiring behind the dashboard” and shouldn’t be too noticeable to patients

While it wasn’t a “magic bullet” it could help different parts of the system work more closely together, he added

The public will rightly ask what difference these reforms make and why they are being implemented now in the middle of a pandemic

The concept dates back to before Covid – Councils and the NHS have tested these approaches for integrated care in recent years

But in many ways the pandemic has sped up the process. As more care is provided outside of the hospital due to the pressure of Covid, the NHS and community teams of the community are working ever closer together

There is much to recommend for better working together The 21st century patient Century has several diseases

Take a 70 year old with heart problems and dementia who lives alone You will need input from a cardiac specialist, support from community nurses, and perhaps the company of a ministerial friend

The staff needed could come from three different organizations working and funded separately. It creates bureaucracy and it is not difficult to see how the quality of care suffers

The whitepaper is an attempt to rewire the NHS, but those who work for the NHS argue that this is only part of the solution – human resources and investment will also play a role

One of the proposals is the abolition of the rule of tenders, according to which suppliers and private companies compete to win contracts for the provision of services

This rule made it complicated for councils and different parts of the NHS to team up and pool their budgets, with some having to set up separate panels to bid for contracts

Instead, the NHS and councils need to run services and work together to pool resources

It also gives the Minister of Health more control over NHS England and other national bodies that were given a high degree of autonomy under the 2012 changes

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said Labor has long been in favor of more integrated care but has raised questions about when to do so

He also said the test of reorganization “will be whether it will shorten waiting lists and times, expand access specifically for psychiatric care, increase cancer survival rates and improve population health”

“We need a long-term funding plan We don’t have one We need a sustainable social plan We were promised one on the steps of Downing Street We don’t have one yet”

The UK social security system is under pressure as previous governments fail to properly reform or fund the system run by the Council

In their election manifesto for 2019, the Conservatives pledged to find a bipartisan solution to ease pressure on the sector and provide long-term funding

Mr Hancock told MPs the government was “committed to reforming adult welfare and will make proposals this year”

Meanwhile, Sir Simon Stevens, CEO of NHS England, said the reform would create a “flexible, can-do spirit” across the health and care system

The White Paper will cite examples of good practice such as a care team at Royal Derby Hospital where community nurses, community care services and hospital staff work together to plan patient discharges

NHS Providers’ Chris Hopson, who represents NHS executives, said this would end “an unnecessarily rigid NHS approach to procurement”

The Local Government Association welcomed the plans but said it did not provide the funds to put care services on a “sustainable, long-term basis”

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Matt Hancock

World News – UK – NHS Reform: “No better time than now” for change, says Matt Hancock