Mayor calls for bigger role in London’s NHS
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for a greater role in helping to shape the NHS’s plans in London. It follows a new report from The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust which found that greater city-wide leadership is needed for the five local NHS Sustainability and Transformation plans (STPs) to be successful.
It recommends that the Mayor, as chair of the London Health Board, has a key leadership role to play. His role will help ensure there is proper coordination across London and the plans will meet the needs of all Londoners.
As a champion of the NHS, the Mayor is willing to provide the strategic leadership that is required. However, with concerns raised in the report and a potential funding gap in NHS finances, the Mayor has asked government to give six key assurances:
1. Patient and public engagement – proposals must show credible, widespread and ongoing patient and public engagement including with marginalised groups.
2. Clinical Support – proposals must demonstrate improved clinical outcomes, widespread clinical engagement and support, including from frontline staff.
3. Impact on health inequality – the impact of any proposed changes to health services in London must not widen health inequalities. Plans must set out how they will narrow the gap in health equality across the capital.
4. Impact on social care – proposals must take into account the full financial impact any new models of healthcare, including social care, would have on local authority services, particularly in the broader context of the funding challenges councils are already facing.
5. Hospital capacity – given that the need for hospital beds is forecast to increase due to population growth and an ageing population, any proposals to reduce the number of hospital beds will need to be independently reviewed to ensure all factors have been taken into account. Any plans to close beds must be an absolute last resort, and must meet at least one of the NHS’ ‘common sense’ conditions'.
6. Sufficient investment – proper funding must be identified and available to deliver all aspects of the STP plans.
The report also outlines other ways the Mayor can provide leadership, from working with the NHS to address workforce shortages and concerns about Brexit to leading on preventing illness and addressing health inequalities.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
I want London to have a world-class health service and have promised to champion and challenge the NHS at all times to achieve this, and to make sure Londoners have access to excellent health and care services.
Any plans around the future of NHS services in London must be given proper investment, and must not have an adverse impact on health inequalities, social care or hospital capacity.
I also want every assurance that our heroic doctors, nurses and health and care professionals get all the support they need to realise these plans, and that Londoners and patients are properly consulted. By working together, with a city-wide vision, we can ensure that Londoners get the best healthcare possible.
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