NHS Chief Executive Sets Out Plans For Future

NHS Chief Executive Sir David Nicholson Has Said He Wants To Improve The NHS In The Coming Years

21.10.2013

NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson has called for more action to improve services provided by the taxpayer-funded body.

In a letter addressed to trust directors and commissioners, Sir Nicholson said outcomes need to improve in the coming years and for that reason there must be transparency in the manner that hospitals and GP surgeries operate.

Critics currently posit that it is very hard to get details from the NHS regarding negligence, leading journalists to rely on time-consuming and cost-ineffective Freedom of Information requests.

The chief executive also told commissioners they must reduce the amount of time people spend avoidably in hospital through integrated community care.

However, the shortage of community and district nurses across the country will make this goal hard to achieve without a new government-backed approach to training and recruitment.

Among other priorities set out was the need to increase the proportion of older people that live at home following being discharged as an inpatient.

There has been, according to secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt, a societal over-reliance on residential homes for people over 65 and this must change in the coming years if the UK is to reduce its deficit and improve care for the elderly.

Concluding, Sir Nicholson said: "It will be essential for commissioners to work closely with providers and social care partners as they develop these plans and we are in dialogue with the relevant national bodies to define fully aligned planning processes to facilitate this.

"Commissioners now face the task of crystallising the conclusions of these discussions into comprehensive plans."

NHS management has regularly faced calls for an improvement to services in recent years and despite the government ringfencing the Department of Health's budget, A&E waiting times across the country are continuing to struggle against those seen in other European countries.

To mitigate this issue, the coalition recently issued a £500 million fund to help A&Es improve their services.

Expert Opinion
Much of what Sir David has referred to is absolutely vital to the future of the provision of quality healthcare through the NHS. Transparency in health services has been in the spotlight for a number of months, following recent scandals and investigations into them such as the Keogh Review.

"Patients and their families expect a reasonable level of care and a key part of working toward this is ensuring proper accountability is in place when problems do emerge.

"Additionally, care must be provided in an effective and efficient manner and staff numbers need to be at a level which guarantees quality care. There is clearly much to be done on this issue, but we hope that Sir David’s words lead to clear, decisive action."
Lisa Jordan, Partner