Wednesday 30 January 2013

Health; time for radical change.

More than 7,000 men and women will lose a leg or foot this year even though most cases could be avoided if we sorted out better diabetes care.

2 stories in the press recently show the pressing need to radically reshape the resource allocation in the NHS; putting more into community and prevention and less into hospitals.

Diabetes now amazingly takes some 10% of the NHS budget and it is growing - some 5 million people will have diabetes by 2025. There are 75,000 diabetes related deaths.

Well done to Barbara Young, CEO of Diabetes UK and an ACEVO member, for highlighting all this.

As I constantly remind anyone listening, it’s not sensible that the majority of our NHS budget goes on long term conditions but it is badly spent. Spent when it is too late to prevent surgery. We know that money spent on advice and support for people with LTC pay off. We also know we do precious little on the public health front to stop LTC growing (what a sensible idea to put a tax on high sugar content drinks!).

The other interesting story was about cancer in the Daily Telegraph. This is reporting on the amazing research advances which are pointing to dramatic changes which will ensure personal cancer treatments, rather than as now an industrial scale chopping and radiating. The research on the genetic links and DNA profiles of people will enable personalised cancer drugs and care on diet and exercise which will mean that within about 20 years cancer too will become a long term condition. How fantastic is that. But how problematic for the way we run our NHS.

It's also worth noting that much of the research on cancer is funded by charities. Indeed in some areas of cancer research, like prostate, most is charity driven.

And let's be clear, who is best placed to deliver that care, support and advice? Deliver health and social care services? Who best to mount campaigns (like the excellent one now being aired by MIND and Rethink? Yes, you've got it. So let's see a major role out of “a major expansion in commissioning of the third sector ". Radical changes to commissioning and more support for the advocacy and public health roles we play.

The reform's now kicking in offer us a big opportunity on the health and wellbeing boards and on the new CCGs. Let's grab them with both arms. And legs. Assuming they not chopped off.

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