19 April 2012
The Richmond Group, the coalition of ten leading health and social care charities, is calling for the Government to instruct the new NHS Commissioning Board to have five key priorities for action and to ensure patients are central to the design and delivery of care in the new NHS.
The Group's second report ‘From Vision to Action’, launched today, sets out what exactly needs to change to put patients at the heart of the NHS and ensure the five themes identified in their first report are implemented.
In 2010 the group, representing the views and aspirations of 17 million patients across the UK, outlined five common key themes across all conditions for the NHS to focus on:
patients engaged in decisions about their care
prevention, early diagnosis and intervention
emotional, psychological and practical support
The Group believes too much focus has been placed on changing structures within the NHS, rather than focussing on the needs and outcomes of the people it will serve.
Delivering the priorities outlined in 'From Vision to Action' will ensure patients are at the centre of decisions about their future care. For example, the report both calls for doctors to develop the skills to support patients to be actively involved in decisions about their care and for making it mandatory for medical students to learn these skills.
Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support said:
“Every day we hear from patients with cancer and other conditions who are frustrated that key decisions about their care are made without their input. It’s absolutely vital patients' views inform commissioning as well as treatment options. The NHS must provide care in the way that meets a person’s needs as a person not just as a condition. Otherwise we simply won’t see improvements in patient care.
“This report sets out the most urgent service improvements needed to address the issues patients care most about. If implemented effectively they will not only ensure patients are at the heart of the system, but also they will help build a sustainable and more cost-effective model for the NHS.”
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said:
“Through our work, we know what older people, or anyone with a long-term condition, say they need from their NHS. Older people using NHS services are all too often excluded from decisions about their care. This report puts into focus how the reformed NHS can start to make our health service fit for the future and fit to serve the people who use it most.
“The Government has recognised the principle of ‘no decision about me without me’ but we want to make sure as the NHS goes through a period of change that this tenet is central to everything that the service does and that this commitment is delivered.”
As well as outlining specific service improvements needed the report ends with five vital priority areas for Secretary of State, Andrew Lansley and the NHS Commissioning Board to action. These are:
Measurement, monitoring and public accountability: as the NHS Commissioning Board starts to take responsibility, the Government must hold it to account by measuring, monitoring and publishing performance so that consistent, comparable information is available to patients and carers. This will drive improvement and support individuals to make choices.
Integrated care: a vital component to the success of a sustainable NHS is the integration of care across boundaries, particularly for those patients with multiple long-term conditions. Integration will streamline care to make it coordinated and available at the point of need.
Active commissioning and service redesign: Commissioners need to actively redesign and reconfigure services in order to tackle the postcode lottery that currently exists in the provision of certain services. Patients and patient organisations must be allowed to co-create the new services.
24/7 care: greater access to 24 hour, seven day community based care is required to stop people falling into crisis and a subsequent need for hospital-based care. Hospitals should provide a seven day service.
The Mandate: The mandate that the Health Secretary of State will be giving to NHS Commissioning Board must reflect the five key themes outlined in the report.
The ten charities represented by the Richmond Group are; Age UK, Asthma UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, British Heart Foundation, British Lung Foundation, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Neurological Alliance, Rethink, and the Stroke Association.
For further information, please contact:
Natalie Owen, Senior Media Officer at Age UK on 020 3033 1438, Emma Guise, Head of Media at Macmillan Cancer Support on 020 7840 4790 or Scott Mullins, Digital Media Officer – News at the British Heart Foundation on 020 7554 016
Notes to Editors:
The Richmond Group worked with the King’s Fund to produce this report.