The new NHS: a patient’s point of view

The govern­ment has put out a paper on what they want the NHS to look like in the future. Here’s a summary of things you might like to know about what they’re claim­ing will happen, from a patient’s point of view.

  • It will still be free! That’s not going to change.
  • You’ll be able to have any GP you want. But keep in mind that if a lot of people pick one GP, it’ll prob­ably be more diffi­cult to get an appoint­ment!
  • The NHS has to be very care­ful about money, and when they find a cheaper way to do things this could mean some changes to who you’re looked after by, how you’re looked after, where and when. Anyone who treats and care for patients will need a licence to make sure they’re safe and good qual­ity, and you should be able to move smoothly from your old service to a new one.Your doctor should talk you through any changes.
  • When you need help or treat­ment your doctor can’t provide them­selves, they’ll give you more choice over what happens to you next. Doctors already offer some choices, but there’ll be a lot more around by April 2011. In return though, you’ll have to take respons­ib­il­ity for going to your appoint­ments and keep­ing up with treat­ments.
  • Local doctors and medical staff, the people who see you all the time, should have a lot more say in the treat­ments avail­able in your area.
  • Your doctors won’t be work­ing towards targets so much anymore, they’ll be rewar­ded for high stand­ards more instead. This might mean you have to wait longer for some things, but it should mean you get better care too.
  • You, your family and carers should be asked how you feel about your treat­ment more often, this will be an import­ant way for medical staff to tell whether they’re doing well.
  • Starting with your GP records, you should have more access to what’s writ­ten down about you. The govern­ment will also look at what records need to be kept exactly.
  • They want to give patients better access to research stud­ies, drug and treat­ment trials.
  • They want all day, every day access to urgent medical help, includ­ing a GP service that works outside normal work­ing hours.
  • You’ll have a local place for you to go, called HealthWatch, if you need help making decisions about your treat­ment, or need support with a complaint.
  • If you use social care services, your local author­ity will be respons­ible for making sure things run smoothly and the NHS and your carers are talk­ing to each other prop­erly. They’ll look after what goes on locally to help people improve their general health, and along with doctors, they’ll also have a say about what services your local area pays for.
  • They govern­ment knows they’re not there yet with long‐term care and support, so if you have a chronic or long term illness there’s more to come by the end of 2010.
  • And finally, they want people to be able to do more online, includ­ing talk­ing to their doctors. They’ll release more on this by the end of 2010.

If you notice any glar­ing errors in this list, please leave a comment or email me! And if you want to give any feed­back to the govern­ment about their plans, what you think about them and what the best way to do them would be based on your exper­i­ences, email nhswhitepaper@dh.gsi.gov.uk by 5 October 2010.

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Corinne Pritchard

Corinne Pritchard

Information Designer at Simply Understand
I believe design and design­ers can and should make the world a better place. I love design­ing things that help people under­stand complex ideas.
Corinne Pritchard

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