Regular reform of the public health and social care system with only short-term goals in mind, and without careful consideration for the underlying causes of increased demand for services or their inefficient provision, is a key issue highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which the government should now address.
Nowhere is this more apparent than within the NHS. Take staffing for example: it takes a minimum of c.3 years to train a nurse, c.10 years to train a GP and c.12 years to train a consultant. Change should not be made solely based on promises made during election campaigns or on 5-year terms.
A long-term strategy is required which balances the health and social care budget along with the anticipated future needs of our (ageing) population. The NHS can no longer be used as the last line of defence, being expected to mitigate not just the symptoms, but also the causes, of ill health and social care.
If our nation is to learn any lessons from the deaths of over 100,000 of its citizens, Her Majesty‚’s Government must seize this opportunity to secure bipartisan agreement to radically reform policies for public health (reducing demand), healthcare (better management of supply) and social care in the UK with a truly long-term and joined up approach at the forefront of thinking. If we fail to seize the initiative, this opportunity will be lost, and with it the commitment of more than a million NHS staff.
Submission reviewed and approved by:
Professor Peter Brownson
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Honorary Professor University of Liverpool
Emeritus Prof W Angus Wallace
Academic Orthopaedics, Trauma & Sports Medicine, University of Nottingham
Retired Consultant Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgeon