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The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action

A Call To ActionThe NHS belongs to the people: a call to action

People in Ealing are invited to take part in a nationwide debate about the future of the NHS.

‘The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action’ sets out the challenges facing the NHS and asks NHS staff, the public and politicians to have an open and honest debate about how rising demand can be met against a funding gap which could grow to £30bn between 2013/14 and 2020/21.

The document sets out a number of latest facts on the NHS, including demand, the changing demographics of the patients being treated and the growth in long term conditions.  These include:

-  The NHS treats around one million people every 36 hours

-  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

Sir David Nicholson, Chief Executive of NHS England, which has put out the call to action, said: “The NHS was set up to provide high quality care for patients, free at the point of need. The NHS has stayed true to this aim and to do so in the future, we must embrace new ways of working. The NHS, like every other healthcare provider in the world, is facing these challenges. Too often, the answers are to reduce the offer to patients or charge for services. That is not the ethos of the NHS and I am clear that our future must be about changing, not charging. To do so we must make bold, clinically-led changes to how NHS services are delivered over the next couple of years.”

NHS England along with other national partner organisations will be providing support to local GPs, charities and patient groups to hold meetings to discuss these issues. These meetings will provide the mechanism for patients and the public to have a genuine say in how the NHS of the future will look.

All feedback from these meetings, as well as national events and online contributions via NHS Choices, will be published and used to help shape a longer term strategy for the NHS.  This will need to be in place by early 2014 to feed into commissioning plans for GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups in 2014/15 and 2015/16.