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 email@example.com by 5 October 2010.