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New year, new plan: Frances Hasler - Healthwatch Camden Director

The Long Term Plan for the NHS was published on 7 January.

The key ingredients in the plan are:

  • A new model of care, with better funded, more joined up primary and community health

  • More emphasis on prevention and on tackling health inequalities

  • Further work to improve care quality and outcomes

  • Action on the workforce, including more funded training places and greater flexibility for staff

  • Further investment in a digitally enabled NHS

  • Further work to contain cost and make the service financially sustainable

  • Proposals on legislative reform to make new care models easier to implement.

The plan is evolutionary not revolutionary, many of the specific proposals in it have been trialled over the past few years, as part of the previous Five Year Forward View.

The new model of care promises:

  • more money for primary and community care 

  • developing proactive community health services that will keep people out of hospital and help get them home from hospital faster

  • multi -disciplinary primary care networks, based on neighbourhoods. 

  • greater support to people living in care homes, and help to age better, including improved care to people with dementia

  • reduced pressure on A&E

  • a single multidisciplinary Clinical Assessment Service (CAS) within integrated NHS 111, ambulance dispatch and GP out of hours services 

  • full roll out of Urgent Treatment Centres,

  • more same day emergency treatment (‘ambulatory’ care)

  • more personalised and person centred care

  • increased social prescribing

Camden is well placed to implement many parts of the model. Our community services to keep people out of hospital are well developed and our GPs are already working in neighbourhoods. There are areas where services could do more, for example on increasing the use of Personal Health Budgets. There are also areas where we know there are some concerns locally, such as online GP consultations and we will be keeping in close touch with the CCG’s plans on digital access, to make sure that people are not disadvantaged by digital exclusion.  

Healthwatch Camden will be seeking your views on the Long Term Plan, via a survey and a small number of local events. Your views will be used in two ways. They will influence local plans for implementing the plan. They will also contribute to a national report being compiled by Healthwatch England which will be used to influence further work to develop the ideas in the plan.

Look out for the survey and news of events in the coming months.