The Way I See it! June 2015


Change in health and social care has always been with us. As Bevin said at the foundation of the new NHS in 1948 "We shall never have all we need. Expectation will always exceed capacity... the service must always be changing, growing and improving; it must always appear to be inadequate".  In that respect little has changed yet much has changed and I see it every day in every service across the Trust.

To provide the best treatment and care to patients and clients requires us not only to embrace change but to be restless and impatient for the pace of that change to increase. Because increase it must if we are to realise the opportunities of innovation and technology, keeping pace with the demands of demographic trends with an older population living with long-term health conditions.

Equally, a new social contract with each of us taking greater responsibility for our own health is required. The key to unlocking all of this is realigning partnerships, using our combined expertise and energies to prevent ill health in the place and managing the consequences of ill health more proactively. We will need to take the public, patient and clients participation to where it always should have been; informing a comprehensive programme co-designing and co-productioning prevention and service delivery models that truly reflect partnership working with patients and clients.

We have seen this winter in the face of a less effective influenza vaccine what l believe is a glimpse into the future. Our current service models have been tested and shown to be less than adequate. The question for me is are we adequately prepared for the challenges ahead, have we maintained the pace of innovative change required to meet the changing needs of an ageing population who are living longer but also living with the consequences of longer term health and social care needs? I would suggest that experience to-date would say not.

Our appetite for the necessary changes needs to become greater. Change will impact on every aspect of the care we provide; how we prevent and maintain the health of the population we serve; how we identify and treat disease; who provides treatment and care; where we offer healthcare services; how patients and clients interact with their caregivers; and how we add most value from the resources we have.

"With change comes opportunities to work differently and better. For some, talk of change also has the potential to create concern. It is our responsibility to work in partnership with others to command confidence and ownership of why change is necessary and in developing plans to improve services; the why, what and how. For others still, I recognise there is a restlessness and impatience for change; "the service must always be changing, growing, improving"

I leave you with the words of the Minister on a recent visit to the Cancer Centre when outlining his vision for Change, Reform and Innovation in the health service, ‘the door is open for you to step through it and help transform health care for future generations.’ The rest is up to us, the patients, clients and the population we all serve.