New NHS Chief Warns Of Huge Challenges Ahead

Simon Stevens Says "The Stakes Have Never Been Higher" For The NHS


Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

The newly-appointed chief executive of NHS England has warned the health service faces some of the biggest challenges in its history, as the government continues to make cutbacks in order to reduce the nation's deficit.

Simon Stevens will mark the start of his tenure by making a speech, in which he is expected to say that major changes will have to be made to the way care is administered in the UK.

"I know that for the NHS the stakes have never been higher. Service pressures are intensifying and longstanding problems are not going to disappear overnight," he will say.

The NHS has come in for criticism in recent months, particularly accident and emergency units, which are struggling to cope with a sharp rise in admissions.

With the population ageing, there are concerns that doctors will become overwhelmed and Mr Stevens insists that care homes and other non-hospital healthcare facilities will have to play their part in ensuring vulnerable people are looked after.

"An ageing population with more chronic health conditions, but with new opportunities to live as independently as possible, means we're going to have to radically transform how care is delivered outside hospitals," he will also say in his speech.

The new NHS England chief will warn that the service is facing its biggest budget crunch for 66 years. Despite this, the organisation has moved to reassure the public that it will continue to "put patients first" and will strive to improve the quality of service offered to patients.

A new business plan has been published this week (March 31st) and it outlines what the NHS is hoping to achieve between now and 2017.

Bill McCarthy, national director for policy for NHS England, said the healthcare body has a particular priority to reduce inequality in its services. He highlighted an urgent need to work more closely with mental health patients to ensure they are receiving as high a level of care as possible.

Expert Opinion
The ageing population brings with it significant challenges for the whole of the service industry but particularly in the world of healthcare. The NHS will face arguably the biggest burden and needs to ensure it is ready to meet the needs of an older society. This means having the appropriate plans in place for care both within and outside of hospitals.

“We receive many enquiries from people concerned about their own treatment or that of older relatives both in hospitals and care homes and it is clear that there is work to be done. It is natural that the older people become the more reliant on health and care services they become so it is crucial that the resources available are able to match the growing demand for care to ensure that people have access to the highest standards of care.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner