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NHS Call to Action

 In July NHS England published ‘The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action’ to mark the 65th anniversary of the NHS.  The Call to Action set out a request to patients, public, staff and partners to join a national conversation about the future demand on NHS services, the impact of changing health needs and how we will meet these challenges.

Health services have dramatically improved since the start of the NHS. Back in 1948, reaching 100 years would have made the news – today more than half the children being born can expect to make that age. Science has given us an ever improving chance to overcome ill health and new treatments continue to be developed which see us treated much sooner, and available in more local settings, such as the GP practice.

This success presents major opportunities, but also challenges. In the future the NHS will need to focus not just on extending lives – but also on ensuring as many of those years are happy and healthy ones, lived free of illness or with long term conditions effectively managed.

Taking full advantage of new and better techniques and the technology to do this will cost a lot of money. To be able to afford this within the available finances means stopping doing the things that are less effective and focusing instead on providing the care which gives the best results and looks at the whole person.

We are starting to consider changes right now and we need people’s views and ideas about what is good and what needs to change.

The facts
•    The NHS treats around one million people every 36 hours
•    Between 1990 and 2010, life expectancy in England increased by 4.2 years
•    The difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest parts of the country is now 17 years
•    Around 80 per cent of deaths from major diseases, such as cancer, are attributable to lifestyle risk factors such as smoking, excess alcohol and poor diet
•    One quarter of the population (just over 15 million people)  has a long term condition such as diabetes, depression, dementia and high blood pressure – and they account for fifty per cent of all GP appointments and seventy per cent of days in a hospital bed
•    Hospital treatment for over 75s has increased by 65 per cent over the past decade and someone over 85 is now 25 times for likely to spend a day in hospital that those under 65
•    The number of older people likely to require care is predicted to rise by over 60 per cent by 2030
•    Around 800,000 people are now living with dementia and this is expected to rise to one  million by 2021
•    Since it was formed in 1948, the NHS has received around four per cent of national income
•    Current forecasts show that continuing with the current model of care will lead to a funding gap of around thirty billion between 2013/14 and 2020/21.
Staying the same is not an option
The Call to Action is not about making unnecessary changes, or taking services away, it’s about looking at how they are being delivered and what can be provided differently to respond to the challenges, but whilst also taking advantage of important opportunities, including:
•    Innovative new treatments and technology
•    Putting people in control of their own health and care
•    Integrating more heath and care services
•    Having greater emphasis on keeping healthy.

Everyone’s got a role in this

Clinical Commissioning Groups and Area Team commissioners are having discussions with their patients and partners about priority areas.

Locally they hold great insight into the conditions that have the most impact on people’s lives. For example, some parts of the country have a higher number of people dying from particular cancers, whereas in others it might be greater prevalence of heart disease and smoking.

Understanding this and working with partners in the acute sector, social care and the health and wellbeing boards will help ensure the right services are provided that give the greatest outcomes for patients. As stakeholders of the NHS, staff, patients, services users and carers play an important role in this too. By sharing ideas on how services should be prioritised to better to prevent people becoming ill and keeping them well.

How will the Call to Action engage with people?

The Call to Action is your opportunity to discuss your ideas and give feedback. The information you share will help local commissioners understand what things are good about local services, what needs to change and where funding would have more impact. This might mean providing more care outside hospital, in community settings, giving better access to GP services and investing more in interventions, such as services for stopping smoking and helping people to lose weight and make healthier choices.
You can get involved in a number of ways:

•    Leave a comment on the NHS Choices Call to Action pages
•    Send us a tweet to @NHSEngland using the #calltoaction hashtag.
•    Through your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
•    Talk to your local CCG – Find your local CCG now
•    Take part in a local engagement event led by CCGs, Health and Wellbeing boards, local authorities and other local partners.

National engagement events

There will also be a number of national events taking place which focus on key themes, including prevention, valuing mental and physical health equally, putting patients in control and integrated care. The events will bring together national level partner organisations to the NHS, clinicians and expert patients and service users.