Next Steps On The NHS Five Year Forward View
1. Next year the NHS turns 70. New treatments for a growing and aging population mean that pressures on the service are greater than they have ever been. But treatment outcomes are far better – and public satisfaction higher – than ten or twenty years ago.
2. With waiting times still low by historical standards but on the rise, and the budget growing – but slowly – it is the right time to take stock and confront some of the choices raised by this challenging context. This plan is not a comprehensive description of everything the NHS will be doing. Instead, it sets out the NHS’ main national service improvement priorities over the next two years, within the constraints of what is necessary to achieve financial balance across the health service. (Chapter One)
3. Perhaps most importantly, we all want to know that the NHS will be there for us and our families when we need it the most – to provide urgent and emergency care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Staff are working with great skill and dedication to do so, and looking after more patients than ever. But some urgent care services are struggling to cope with rising demand. Up to 3 million A&E visits could have been better dealt with elsewhere. There are difficulties in admitting sicker patients into hospital beds and discharging them promptly back home.
4. That’s why over the next two years the NHS will take practical action to take the strain off A&E. Working closely with community services and councils, hospitals need to be able to free up 2,000-3,000 hospital beds. In addition, patients with less severe conditions will be offered more convenient alternatives, including a network of newly designated Urgent Treatment Centres, GP appointments, and more nurses, doctors and paramedics handling calls to NHS 111. (Chapter Two)