So the White Paper is out. I read the details flying from Izmir to Istanbul. Strict instructions from ACEVO Towers not to Blog till Tuesday! As if!!
Good to see "preferred provider" well and truly nailed to the ground! I'm proud of the role ACEVO played in first highlighting then dishing this monstrosity!
The major themes of empowering providers, incentivising preventative health interventions, and ambitious plans for social enterprise also give us a real sense of how the Government will drive NHS reform forward.
But the Department of Health and our sector must work closely together to ensure that proposals to extend personal budgets, GP commissioning, and ever more personalised services are introduced in a way that harness the strengths and innovation of the third sector. They cannot be a cover for cuts.
Of course everyone welcomes "cutting bureaucracy" but often that turns to to be essential administrative functions that underpin the whole working of the system. For example; how will GP commissioning mean less paperwork? It may well increase the bureaucracy!
Andrew Lansley’s explicit reference to the Government’s vision of creating the largest social enterprise sector in the world is precisely the kind of commitment ACEVO has been calling for.
Today’s announcements are clearly positive for the sector but we need further information on how GPs are going to be brought up to speed on the added value of commissioning services from the third sector.
One good thing is that Hilary De Lyon, the CEO of the Royal College of General Practitioners, is an ACEVO member and we are in discussion with her about how we can work together to ensure GPs will commission from effective third sector providers.
But for the sector this is not just about delivery. For all our beneficiaries we want to see better access. Marginalised communities in particular often lose out when they cannot access information on what is available. We all want to have more control on our own health and how it is tackled.
I really like the fact that they want those of us with long term conditions to be more active in deciding on treatments. So third sector bodies like Diabetes UK have a role in delivering more and also in a much better information and advice service. Support for more healthy lifestyles, exercise, diet etc is as crucial as a trip to the Doctor for an annual test. Indeed more so.
But this is a big agenda and it a Cross-government one. No good the DH extending preventive services if local Councils are cutting back on organisations that provide the support and advice, as well as delivery that people need. So the news from my ACEVO North Director that there are various cuts in services like Age UK being implemented. Or that on the day the White Paper appears NHS Leeds disgracefully cuts £500,000 from Leeds MIND. As often happens it's vital services for the most disadvantaged that are first in line for the axe. Shame on you Leeds NHS. And this is a warning to Councils and Health Authorities. If you cut back on support for this sector you will undermine all the good intentions of this White Paper.
My last day away. I'm blogging from the roof terrace of my hotel. (See photo). To my right is the glorious majesty of Haghia Sophia. To my left the beauty of the Blue Mosque. And behind the majestic Bosphorous sweeps its way to the sea. All good Leaders need rest and relaxation. They need good health to be fit for the leadership challenges ahead. ACEVO holidays now in planning.
And finally some photos from yesterday down in Ephesus as they seem to be a popular feature, judging by the various comments on Blog!!
The Library, Ephesus
The house of Mary the Virgin, Ephesus
The Blue Mosque
Surely the location of services will play a critical role in the implementation of the new service paradigm. I am interested to see if the NHS can move beyond the doc in a box model and heavily into preventative delivery mode providing access to info, services, and support at the community level. Development trusts could have a significant role to play in this approach.
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