NHS Long Term Plan – Part 1

It has been nearly six months since my last post and in this time, I have overcome many challenges and obstacles that have been apparent due to the failing health of my father who sadly passed away in December after a two-year struggle with cancer. I would like to say a big thank you to those who were there both in person and in spirit which has been a great help along the way. We are by no means at the end of our journey but are a lot stronger and capable of coping with most things that we come up against.

One thing I have learnt from this experience is that we have a health service that stands the test of time after 70 years of being hammered by a population that has an ever-increasing morbidity and are living longer. We are well aware of the strains that have been put on our health service over the past years and the different ideas and strategies that have been put into place by different governments to try to tackle the issues at hand and produce a more efficient and better managed service that caters for the ever-changing needs of our population.

So, off the back of the Five Year Forward Plan comes the NHS Long Term Plan which outlines the strategy for maintaining and improving the services provided to us as a population giving specific detail on how this will be approached and the areas in which the main focus will be concentrated.

Chapter One considers the need for joined up care at the right time where patients will get more options with the focus being on GP practices and the need for digital maturity to become second to none in our surgeries. This will allow patients to have the choice of online consultations with the creation of truly integrated teams that will include GPs, social care and community health teams which should reduce the burden on acute services allowing growth in this area to provide better outcomes for those admitted with critical illnesses. New technologies such as wearables which link to personal health records are an essential part of the roadmap in support of the digital transformation in primary care. As supporting the patient in their own home becomes more important to help reduce hospitalisation rates and re-admission. The patient taking control and ownership of their health record is becoming a reality with a number of solutions available that offer a number of different ways to view either health specific records or combine this with personal information making it more of a holistic experience for those who will embrace this as a solution. Incorporating features into this technology that advise and support the user in choices and health promotion using their health data will go some way in creating a healthier nation.

The next instalment will look at further chapters and the influence that AI can have on patient care plans and also the clinical safety implications for its introduction into our health IT systems to support both clinicians and patients alike.

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