The NHS Confederation and the Nuffield Trust kicked off the launch debate of our new joint event series - Daring to ask - on March 9 2016. The first debate was chaired by Sarah Montague from the BBC’s Today Programme.
NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, backed by the Government, reflects a consensus on the future direction for health and care services. The recent spending review has provided a relatively generous settlement for health when compared to the cuts facing other parts of the public sector but fundamental challenges remain.
The service continues to be in the middle of its longest-ever period of financial constraint, with the NHS required to achieve huge levels of efficiency savings alongside reduced funding for local authorities which continue to affect social care. With demand for services relentlessly rising, change is no longer optional. The NHS will need to deliver radical changes in how patient care is organised and delivered to create a sustainable system.
But are the mechanisms and conditions in place to make these changes possible? Or is the vision outlined in the Five Year Forward View facing an uphill battle? In this context, our first debate asked a panel of policy experts and NHS leaders to consider:
- What should NHS services look like in 2020? Are we laying off staff and closing hospitals or reframing the services we deliver to better suit the needs of a 21st century population?
- Are we on the brink of effecting change to successfully deliver the Five Year Forward View? Do we have the mechanisms in place to make the positive changes possible?
- And will our historically centralised system genuinely allow local areas to make the changes needed to deliver sustainable care?