We asked everyone at the event on New Thinking for the NHS, to let us have their ideas which they believe would help improve our health and care services. Their responses are as follows:
- Re-instating the principle at the start of the NHS: free at the point of need. And met by State funding excluding private provision and financing (including any future PFI’s).
- Target the bottlenecks! Process efficiency could be delivered, but would need concerted resource trained and developed separately over say 10 years, to be able to set this up alongside the people running current processes.
- Major recruitment drive for areas where there are shortages of qualified health professionals.
- More funding for prevention, early diagnosis and health education.
- I don’t think there is one solution; however I think ‘design’ has a huge impact – from primary care to system features to architecture: eg greenery, better transport to gym’s for elderly etc.
- Just as STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Plans) suggest, the NHS/Health can’t be delivered in silos; health as a whole can’t be sustained as separate to housing, community development, and young people.
- Establish what we actually want from the NHS, so they can try and deliver it.
- Take the politics out of health and social care.
- Remove politics from the NHS!
- Take time to identify and promote good practice from whatever source; there is plenty of good practice about.
- PFI schemes are costing the NHS far too much, but I am unclear what can be done about it.
- Joined up services – education – social – health.
- A bit of compulsion to persuade people to take care of themselves – exercise, nutrition etc.
- Take politics out of the NHS.
- Serve the same food and menus in hospital wards, as is served in the hospital restaurant to staff, consultants, and managers.
- Distance the NHS and care services from political influence, by investigating other ways of doing this; for instance:
- The BBC and its Charter – say re-negotiate every 10 years and then leave the organisation to get on with it; and/or
- Use a ‘Monetary-Policy-Committee-type-arrangement’ to set overall funding requirements (akin to how Bank of England Base Rate is set now), funding to be from National Insurance-type arrangements as originally envisaged for the NHS.
- That visitors entering the UK, as well as showing a valid passport, should also show valid health insurance for the duration of their stay in the UK.
- Interest rates are at an historic all-time low. Would it not be possible to ‘re-finance’/buy-out the loans on which PFI schemes are based, so that the interest charges can be reduced, so as to release hospital and NHS funds for medical care?
- Old age is not an illness per se, and should not be treated as such. It is a separate category of care for which everyone should make a financial contribution from when they start work.
- I find it very irritating when commentators and politicians complain about the burden on the NHS caused by the elderly. It has not been a secret that we have all been getting older, and there should be no excuses. The crisis has come about because successive governments have avoided the issue, presumably because they were reluctant to tackle what is a potentially controversial onus on the taxpayer. The NHS has also had to face the sudden and massive increase in population which has occurred during this last decade and which was not foreseen (or was ignored) by the politicians at the time.
- The NHS needs to cut the amount of money it spends on agency staff. It should use this money more efficiently to employ permanent staff, and increase salary levels overall in order to hold on to the staff it already has.
- According to the King’s Fund (an independent charity working to improve health and care in England), spending on the NHS is slowing down. Between 2017 and 2020, the NHS budget will increase by “less than 0.5% each year in real terms”, which is well below the increasing need; the share of GDP devoted to health and care, should be increased in line with need.
- The action to reduce sugar is welcomed, as is the fact that the definition of ‘added sugar’ includes high fructose syrup. Reports suggest that this syrup is highly addictive and generates cravings for more of it; and when consumed it goes straight to the liver, causing spikes in insulin generation and a greater likelihood to diabetes. It is to be hoped that substances such as high fructose syrup can be targeted by future public health measures.
- We need a longer term vision, and commit to it, so as to harness the motivations of all involved.