Chris Smyth in The Times 230th April 2014 reports on : Cookie-cutter tactics hurt NHS, says boss – for Cookie cutter read covert post code rationing. This is as far as the new boss will be allowed to go in moving towards overt rationing, and the next step will need to be taken by a leading (leader?) politician… This is a sensible summary of the impending Health Service disaster, without political honesty and philosophical change as implied in the Belfast Newsletter.
The new head of the NHS has suggested that the health service will need a cash injection after the next election in his first appearance before MPs.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, also criticised a “cookie cutter” approach to care as he urged local health chiefs to experiment with different ways of organising services. Appearing before the health select committee, he also suggested more local hospitals could be saved and admitted the NHS had to “get better at listening”.
Accepting predictions that the health service would face a £30 billion funding gap by the end of the decade without reform, Mr Stevens promised to come up with a fundamental review of NHS finances by the autumn. He said: “If it is the case, as hopefully it will be, that strong economic growth returns then I think for medical reasons, for economic reasons, for social reasons, most independent commentators would predict that the nation would probably be spending more in real terms on health care by 2021 than it is now.”
After reports that he plans an expansion of competition within the service, Mr Stevens said he was “pragmatic” about market forces, saying it was sometimes helpful for patients to have a choice but adding: “do I think it’s the answer to what has to be done in the NHS? No I do not.”
Mr Stevens said that care was “not very joined up” around patients and said that the gap between the NHS and social care was too often failing elderly patients. “About 90,000 are admitted from their own home to hospital as an emergency and discharged into a care home, in many cases that might be appropriate but in some I suspect that it is the absence of other alternatives that is driving that. For this group of frail older people the system is not necessarily working terribly well right now and we have got to change that,” he said.
He also held out hope of a reprieve for some local hospitals after a period in which health service leaders have talked of centralising care to improve results and save money. “I believe that when you look at other countries and compare us to them you would say that we already have a fairly centralised hospital system and it may well be if you get really creative about what you do to local hospitals it would not always be a case of closing or merging as some people think,” he said.