In response to the publication of the NHS’ Long Term Plan, David Hare, Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, said:
“There is much to welcome in today’s ambitious Plan which will help ensure the health service can meets the needs of patients in the 21st century, and, critically, provides a clear commitment to give people more control over their own health and the care they receive.
“The Plan’s clear focus on prevention and early diagnosis will be key to ensuring that patients receive the right care, at the right time, in the right setting, and the welcome investment in primary and community care will help bolster a sector which too often does not get the attention it deserves.
“To further promote more integrated models of care, we welcome the Plan’s emphasis on the NHS working with its local partners, including independent sector providers, to produce and implement plans that meet the needs of local people. We have consistently called for a more open approach to creating integrated care systems, with NHS organisations working alongside others and utilising the expertise of organisations from outside the NHS. It is important that the guidance issued to local systems to support the production of their plans follows through on this commitment to openness.
“We welcome too the renewed focus on short waits for elective care, the reiterated commitment to offering patients a choice of provider and the clear statement that Independent Sector capacity should be used to deliver these goals. We need now to see this reflected in ambitious plans to recover NHS standards on waiting times.
“On cancer, it is positive to see the commitment to new models of diagnostic provision to which the capacity and expertise in the independent sector can make a real contribution, and help improve early detection of cancer and other major diseases. It is also very important that the NHS draws on independent sector provision of innovative cancer services, such as Proton Beam Therapy, where they can help to improve care for patients.”
“While we agree that work should be done to see if any legislative changes may be required to better join up health and care services, it is vital that any new procurement rules retain key principles around open and transparent processes and the need to ensure value for money for both patients and tax payers. And most of all that there is an unwavering focus on securing the best and most innovative models of care, regardless of who provides them.
“The important thing now is for the health sector to come together to create realistic implementation plans to deliver the important goals of the Long-Term Plan. We need to make sure that the welcome words of the Plan are translated into real changes that benefit patients across the NHS.”