Be honest about the NHS – and we will change it for the better, say health leaders

Rob Webster

For the NHS to have a successful and sustainable future, the Government must be open and honest with the public about the need for service change and address the funding issues in social care. That is the view of NHS leaders in response to a major survey commissioned by the NHS Confederation and independently conducted by Populus.

Chief executive Rob Webster will today tell delegates at the NHS Confederation annual conference, which will bring together nearly 3,000 senior health and care leaders, decision-makers, partners and stakeholders over the next three days, that this period following the election is one where we must address the headline messages resulting from the survey - and back delivery of the Five Year Forward View.

View a summary of the survey results

NHS leaders need the backing of politicians and national bodies

The survey underlines that local leaders can only address the challenges facing the NHS if they have the political support, if national bodies improve the way they work together, and crucially, if there is significantly better support for social care and mental health services. More than 90 per cent of NHS leaders believe that social care cuts are directly affecting patient care in their organisations.

Rob will also say that while finances will always be a preoccupation for professionals and politicians alike, we must collectively focus our attention on improving health and social care for patients and the public.

The survey results make for some difficult reading about the prevailing tough climate but they also reflect that the leadership of the NHS is more than prepared to drive positive change, provided it is done collaboratively and with the right support.

On the challenges facing the NHS, Rob said: "The NHS continues to deliver high quality care in very challenging circumstances. Over the last five years rising demand has been relentless and funding limited. This has required unprecedented levels of efficiency, with almost £19 billion saved by the NHS during this period. 

In many parts of the country our members are now implementing new models of care which better meet the health needs of the 21st century. We must be supported by the system as we do more.

Building confidence in the future

Rob continues: "Over the course of our conference, we have the opportunity to galvanise the NHS and care system behind the Five Year Forward View and to build confidence in the future. That will require the right contribution from politicians, national bodies and front line leaders across the system.

“The conference will see us agree how we accelerate from talking about change to delivering real and meaningful changes to the way care is delivered. With the election out of the way, this will require a focus on the workforce, on prevention, on the role of innovation and new models of care. It will mean new relationships across sectors and with the public - as well as using the money well - if we are to forge a better future."

NHS Confederation annual conference and exhibition 2015

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