The relationship between the NHS and our patients, their families and our diverse local communities has never been stronger. From sewing facemasks and shopping for our shielded neighbours, to a genuine sense of gratitude at the sacrifices that health and care staff are making on the frontline, we have witnessed a different relationship with people at this time that we should understand and explore.
This theme will consider whether COVID-19 provides the starting point for a new relationship between the NHS, other public services and the communities we serve.
In a matter of weeks, we have designed and successfully implemented a new social compact between public services and local people. By staying home and sacrificing some freedoms, people are helping the NHS, care system and local government to work together to protect communities and keep them safe from COVID-19.
What opportunities are there to develop this new relationship and is there a way of describing a new deal with communities where people become active and engaged partners in the development of healthy ‘places’, and not merely consumers of NHS services?
In 2019, a senior NHS leader told us that: “The growth in diabetes in our area is such that unless we manage to change the trajectory of growth in demand, we will be spending our entire community services budget on diabetes within ten years. We have to find ways to look at prevention, we can’t just keep on treating people. We have to work with communities to change the curve on obesity, or it will come to consume us.”
Does COVID-19 give us the starting point for a new relationship between the NHS and the communities we serve. What might that relationship look like and how do we start that conversation? How do we learn from the experiences of patients, people and communities and work together to build a better NHS?
In partnership with the Healthwatch network, we will be working to ensure that the views of patients and local communities are at the heart of our NHS Reset work.
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