Commenting on proposals put forward today for the future of London's health service by Sir Ara Darzi, Professor of Surgery at Imperial College, King's Fund chief executive Niall Dickson said:
'Tomorrow's NHS in London needs to look markedly different from today's. The population is changing, expectations are rising and medical care and technology is advancing rapidly. We know that some of the ways we currently deliver services are out of date and that in many areas the NHS is not providing the best care for patients in London – given all that, no change is not an option.
'Sir Ara Darzi's vision for the health service in the capital is a vital first step in bringing about better care – it identifies key challenges and deficiencies in the current system and makes a strong case for change. It also sets out what is possible using evidence from around the world. It should stimulate a fundamental debate and then action from those who commission services to shape and bring about the right pattern of services for the future.
'What is needed now from commissioners is a commitment to engage clinicians and managers, as well as local communities, in taking this forward and to shape services to deliver what is best for patients, and not what is best for institutions.'
Niall Dickson added: 'This will not be easy. Health care is complex and change needs to be based on sound evidence. In some areas, such as stroke care, there is an overwhelming case with evidence that better outcomes are possible if scans are carried out more quickly and patients treated by specialist teams in major hospitals. However, in other areas the evidence is more equivocal.
'The process must be driven by the need to improve outcomes – that will only be achieved if those who deliver care are involved and have confidence that these changes are right clinically and are not motivated by financial or other pressures.
'This is the time to begin to thrash out these models and ideas, so that commissioners who must drive this process together with managers and clinicians can begin to develop local solutions, and collaborate on London-wide solutions where these are necessary for best quality care.'
Notes to editors:
- For further information or interviews, please contact the King’s Fund media and public relations office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185.
- The full report of A Framework for Action is available on the Healthcare for London website.
- The King’s Fund is an independent charitable foundation working for better health, especially in London. We carry out research, policy analysis and development activities, working on our own, in partnerships, and through funding. We are a major resource to people working in health and social care, offering leadership development programmes; seminars and workshops; publications; information and library services; and conference and meeting facilities.