Simon Stevens fires the starting gun for a new deal for people with long term conditions
Major editorials in the serious papers, leading the national TV news, immediate responses from political and professional leadership – The NHS Five Year Forward View certainly grabbed attention.
The powerful focus on people with long term conditions and on a serious shift towards person centred collaborative care is long overdue and very welcome to the Coalition for Collaborative Care. Point 5 in the executive summary was music to my ears, following through on the messages Simon Stevens has started to send over recent months:
When patients do need health services, patients will gain far greater support over their own care – including the option of joint budgets combining health and social care. The 1.4 million unpaid carers in England will get new support and the NHS will become a better partner with voluntary organisations and local communities
The Forward View reminds us that people with long term conditions spend less that 1% of their time with health professionals and that the rest of the time they manage their own lives in their families and communities. It quotes our partner organisation National Voices, quite rightly saying:
Personalised care will only happen when statutory services recognise that patients own life goals are what counts;- that services need to support families, carers and communities; that promoting well-being and independence need to be the key outcomes of care; and that patients, their families and carers are…experts by experience
- That people with long term conditions are in charge of their own lives and should be the main decision makers about the actions they take in managing their conditions. People can express their own needs and decide on their own priorities in partnership with professionals. Professionals need to recognise people’s assets, strengths and abilities, not just their needs, and support them to live their lives as well as possible.
- People are interested in their lives rather than just their conditions and help should be coordinated around the whole person’s needs. The relationship between a person and a professional should be one of equals where each is seen as having expertise.
- That as well as being the right way to support people, this approach works. People are more likely to follow through on decisions they make in partnership, which helps people manage their conditions and so stay well and independent. For people approaching the end of their life, taking this approach to decisions is often especially crucial
The NHSE Chief Executive is telling us that now is the time to take this seriously.