A lack of a workforce plan undermined the vision of long-term NHS reform outlined by the Westminster government today, says the CSP, which broadly welcomed the focus on building care around the needs of the patient.
Health secretary Sajid Javid today set out a series of ambitions that he hopes will reshape the way the NHS in England provides care, ensuring the service rebalances after the pandemic and waiting lists are brought down.
Here are five takeaways from his speech:
- Personalisation is vital. It’s something the CSP has advocated for many years. Care and rehabilitation must be person-centred and never a ‘one size fits all’ – the CSP supports this ambition as we know it can improve patient experience and outcomes.
- There is little choice but to reform the health service, to meet changing patient needs, demographics and financial pressures. Again, this is something the CSP has long understood and why it is working hard to improve community rehabilitation services, as care moves away from hospitals, closer to home.
- The private sector should play a part, but NHS care must remain free at point of delivery. It makes sense to make the most of capacity in the private system, to address the NHS backlog. But it is vital to address health inequity and remember that the patient journey does not stop with hospital treatment – again the need for rehabilitation shines through.
- We need to add years to life and life to years – through rehabilitation and prevention. If this goal is to be achieved, progress must be made to ensure people do not enter a cycle of admission and discharge. Health services must be easily available and accessible to all, regardless of where people live.
- All of the health secretary’s ambitions will remain just that unless action is taken on workforce. Without more people in the system, delivering the care in the new ways he describes, patients won’t benefit. He says a workforce plan is coming, but he didn’t say when. This is a vital piece of the puzzle.
Watching the health secretary’s speech was CSP chief executive Karen Middleton. She said: ‘Physiotherapy staff are playing a key role in many services of the kind that the plan envisages and making them available everywhere is again something we support because far too many people at present miss out on high-quality care simply because of their postcode.
The CSP also agrees that using the private sector to relieve short-term pressures makes sense for patients.
CSP members can be integral to the transformation outlined in the plan, but that just highlights the 'major shortcoming' in what has been proposed,' Ms Middleton said.
Until we have a funded, comprehensive workforce plan that delivers the staff needed to provide this vision, it will remain just that.
‘It is essential that the severe staff shortages faced by physiotherapy services and others are addressed so that many of the fine intentions outlined today become reality.’
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