Creating tomorrow's healthcare today - the context
At all levels within the NHS today significant challenges are being faced. The provision of services in the UK is coming under unprecedented pressure.
Despite improvements, the current delivery system is unable to meet the needs of the 21st century.
The main drivers for change are:
- demand for healthcare, in particular acute (urgent hospital) services, is increasing;
- there are wide and unacceptable variations in care across hospitals in England;
- there is a growing body of opinion that services should be centralised where necessary;
- as a consequence of the increase in demand for acute services and the variation in patient outcomes the workforce is coming under unprecedented pressure and hospitals alone cannot deliver the healthcare needs of the modern population;
- the scale of the financial challenge facing the NHS means that individual hospitals increasing productivity is not the whole solution.
Overall, these challenges mean that local hospitals will have to think differently about what services they provide in what locations and how. The situation in Warrington and Halton is no different, but it does face some unique challenges and could therefore benefit from a variety of opportunities.
The scale of our own financial challenge
Over the past year the we have been assessing the financial challenge in the coming years and identifying potential options for further productivity gain and service transformation in order to reduce the cost base at the same time as delivering on quality and safety - a key feature of the Francis Report. This analysis has indicated that the scale of the challenge is equivalent to annual savings of c£11m (around c£56m over the next five years).
National drivers to improve quality of care
The Francis Report is the final report into the quality of care provided by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. The report’s chair, Robert Francis QC, concluded that patients were routinely neglected by a trust too focused on financial targets, so much so that it lost sight of its responsibility to provide safe care. The report contains 290 recommendations which have implications for all levels of the health service and all who work in the NHS.
Many of the recommendations following the Francis, - and the associated Berwick, & Keogh reports - that define quality care as providing Patient Safety, Patient Experience, and Effectiveness of care, are already in the process of being implemented by us locally.
We have been keen to use these reports as a springboard to providing better quality care and a number of themes have stimulated planned action in key areas of:
- A focus on a culture of caring
- Improving leadership
- Communication with patients.