2017 promises to be another challenging year for the health and care system, with demand for care increasing faster than the supply of resources.
A system already stretched to its limits will have to work even harder to maintain current standards of care and to balance budgets. This requires a continuing focus on operational performance and renewed efforts to transform the delivery of care at a time when frontline staff are working under intense pressure.
The NHS five year forward view (Forward View) will be tested to its limits as leaders work to improve performance and transform care. The NHS locally has to deliver £15 billion of the £22 billion efficiency improvements required under the Forward View, with the remaining £7 billion to be delivered nationally. It also has to provide evidence that new care models are delivering benefits. Failure to do so will raise serious questions about the assumptions on which the Forward View was based and on the ability of leaders to deliver their plans.
Against this background, the King’s Fund document highlights the following priorities for the NHS for the year ahead: Supporting new care models, implementing sustainability and transformation plans, delivering better value, strengthening leadership, and securing adequate funding.
The National Quality Board (NQB) has today (21 December) published a new framework that will promote improved quality criteria across all national health organisations for the first time | NHS England
The new publication provides a nationally agreed definition of quality and guide for clinical and managerial leaders wanting to improve quality.
The approach has been agreed by the national bodies that form the NQB to provide more consistency and to enable the system to work together more effectively.
It is part of work to cut unnecessary red tape by reducing duplication and aligning demands on professionals for information on the quality of services.
The document sets out a range of measures to achieve higher and consistent standards including: the need for a common language that people who use services understand; to ensure commissioners and providers experience a coherent system of assurance, measurement and regulation; that professionals and staff are equipped and empowered to deliver safe, effective, and responsive care; and leaders should create a culture where people feel free to speak up when something goes wrong.
Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) are central to this process and all bids should be explicitly linked to the relevant local STP plans. This process is open to any STP, although individual organisations or alliances may bid on behalf of an STP for this funding; submission of applications must be via STPs.