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The long and the short of it …….

7 January 2019

The Long

The NHS Ten Year Plan

The waiting is over – a mere month after proposed publication – we have the NHS 10 Year Plan. The plan, billed as the key to unlocking the additional 5-year funding settlement announced last summer, sets out the ambitions for health over the next 10 years.

The plan reinforces the three themes, which have received detailed focus from the Secretary of State, Matt Hancock: Workforce, Prevention and Early Diagnosis to focus on ageing population and the widespread adoption of Technology. 

Alongside this, Theresa May outlined three other priorities including reducing variation so that World Class Care is available for all, more integrated health system viewing health holistically and parity of esteem for mental health.

Simon Stevens was unabashed in his recognition that the NHS is the largest single employer of skilled professionals in the world. Therefore, the majority of the 20.5 billion will be used to fund the staff needed to support our changing population. Although, it is of note that the Workforce Development plan, which will be central to the implementation of these plans is not due until later in the year, the detail and appropriate funding of which will be critical.  

The plan itself is 136 pages long, and will take more time to digest than this quick blog allows – however, you can pick up your copy of it here. In addition, if you are interested in more accessible breakdowns of it, the plan has its own website, and blogs and focus on sections can be found here.

Finally, you can watch in full the launch of the plan live here.

There is, of course, a well-trailed and welcome steer in the plan towards communities that is reflected in responses from Local Government, where it is noted for the first time the funding for primary, community and mental health services will grow faster than those for hospital services.

However, whilst we are in the green shoots of the New Year, we are not seeing the Green Paper for Social Care. Many of you will remember one of the rationales for the delay in the Green Paper publication was its need to fall in line with the timeframe for the NHS Ten Year Plan. Without it – the potential for this NHS plan to create the ambitious step change from acute to community – will fail.

Even in response to questions raised by journalists at the launch, the key opportunity Theresa May identified for ‘reducing waste’ was to get patients out of hospital – an ambition we can all share. But it can only be achieved by providing the long term future of social care with the same level of focus and priority as has been awarded health.

The Short

Preparations for No Deal Brexit and Brexit Vote

Not sure what your post bag looked like over Xmas, but there is a real risk any missive that dropped into your inbox on the 21 December might have got overlooked…..

Well that was the day that DHSC decided to send out its guidance for providers on preparation for a No Deal Brexit. So, just in case it got buried under a sea of more upbeat Xmas messages, here is the information again – as this is absolutely urgent and critical information for all to receive.

As noted, on the 21 December 2018, the government published guidance for Adult Social Care providers and commissioners on No Deal Brexit. There are some key messages in here about actions you can be taking now, and more detail on the EU Settled Status Scheme, and a key request to ensure you are providing up-to-date information to NMDS on a more regular basis to keep the data on the sector as current as possible.

We will of course be following up on this guidance with the government, and bringing you the latest news on this as information comes available. Please refer to the two documents here.

The issue of contingency planning raised in these documents is absolutely critical, and in an earlier blog in December, we touched on the need to connect up with local authorities. Unfortunately, the guidance issued by DHSC in December around contingency planning does not adequately talk to the needs of individual social care providers, meaning that organisations will not be approaching their own planning with the same rigour and focus.

We hope to be working with DHSC as a matter of urgency to address this, and asking members to send us news of what they have been exploring, or have in place as it is key that this issue receives priority.

The Vote on the Withdrawal Agreement has been scheduled for the 15 January, with Parliament sitting again today, and the debate on the agreement restarting in preparation for the vote. The state of planning for the alternatives, including No Deal,  will undoubtedly be playing on the mind of many of us as we move forward to the vote.

Therefore, it is imperative that as we talk of contingencies - we don't revert to organisational silos - battening down our individual contingency hatches to the undoubted detriment of the people who will most need integrated health and care.....

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