The 2015 Challenge: our prescription for the election

25 / 02 / 2015

This paper sets out for politicians and national policy-making bodies the 2015 Challenge coalition's shared analysis of progress so far on the changes we asked for in the 2015 Challenge, and the immediate next steps required during the election period and before summer 2015.

As the 2015 general election approaches, we need to ensure that we have a mandate to radically reshape care around people's needs and aspirations, which are now very different from when the NHS was created. We also face a perfect storm of inexorably rising demand for health and care, and financial austerity. The pressures on the whole system have never been greater.

Our prescription

All political parties’ general election manifestos must:

  • prioritise reducing preventable illness and maintaining wellbeing across all public services, and set out how local areas’ efforts on this will be supported
  • detail concrete plans to make mental health services as accessible to people as physical health services by the end of the next Parliament
  • commit to adequate funding for health and social care – including transition funding to enable service change – and the next Government must begin to deliver on this in its first budget and spending review
  • commit to providing the stability and consistency required for local areas to continue to make progress on vital work to reshape care. The principles of the Five year forward view have secured broad support and the next Government should support their implementation as well as avoiding yet another top-down, large-scale structural reorganisation of the administration of the NHS.

National and local politicians must:

  • be candid with the public about the need to change the way we deliver care, and the tough choices required if we are to sustain a world-class health and care system. 
  • work in partnership with the public, patients, clinicians and other local leaders to ensure much-needed changes secure the best possible health outcomes and sustainable services – rather than blocking necessary change

National policy-making bodies must:

By summer 2015, bring about substantial progress towards achieving these key asks:

  • A stronger vision and action to make health and wellbeing a shared, fundamental priority across all public services, moving this from rhetoric to reality
  • A genuine push to deliver supported self-management and personalised care and support planning at scale, through a sector-led programme of work, supported by national bodies, as part of wider efforts to personalise care
  • A programme to ensure our health and social care workforce is developed and supported to work in a more open culture, to operate within both communities and hospitals, and deliver coordinated and personalised care as part of a more integrated system
  • A simplified outcomes framework which aligns across healthcare, public health and social care
  • Faster development of new payment mechanisms in the NHS, to support more integrated and outcome-focused care.

Why are these actions needed?

Recent political announcements, and publications and programmes from national bodies, contain helpful steps and indicate we are moving in the right direction. But there is much more to do if we are to make a sustainable health and care system a reality.

We will only succeed in improving people’s care, and making the health and care system more efficient, if the Government and national bodies put in place the right conditions for local leaders at all levels to work together to reshape care and support.

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