Reform submission: LSE-Lancet Commission’s inquiry ‘The Future of the NHS’

The 70th birthday year for the NHS comes at a defining moment. The health service faces some of the most major challenges of its time but also great opportunities to fundamentally change the traditional model of care. Reform thinks that bold, new reform will transform the NHS into a more innovative, efficient and higher quality service.

The changing healthcare needs of the population

The population is ageing and developing more long-term, complex health conditions. The current model of reactive care largely treats these groups in hospitals which is impersonal and inefficient. The NHS should shift more care into the community and the home by utilizing primary care and technology.

Organisational/structural challenges

Health commissioning is siloed across different public bodies which duplicates services and prevents integration. As Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) develop into Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) more control over health spend should be devolved to unitary and combined authorities, who are accountable and responsive to the people they serve.

Delivering high quality services for all

Large parts of the NHS estate are unfit for purpose to take in more services from hospitals. Primary care transformation requires using public and private funding options to expand and improve local practices.

Securing sustainable and skilled workforce

The workforce is too heavily skewed towards acute care and lacks the skills to work in diverse settings. More of the workforce working in local communities can intervene earlier to prevent more chronic conditions. Reform recommends scrapping the training cap on doctors and a universal skills pass to help NHS staff work across professional boundaries.

Role of technology and innovation

Coordinating patient care relies on sharing the patient information digitally across, primary, acute and social care settings. Reform has recommended that the NHS fully digitises its data and ensures all data is generated in machine-readable format to make the most of the AI revolution.