Financial pressures and the development of integrated care systems have provided the best opportunity since the creation of the NHS for local government and health leaders to “remake” their relationship, according to NHS England’s director for acute care.
Professor Keith Willett said the two sectors’ difficulties in overcoming “financial, cultural and operational differences” had prevented them “adapting to public need”.
NHS England director calls for ‘major attitude shift’
He added funding constraints and a move to integrate health and social care services had created the conditions for “a major shift in attitude”, which could build on positive outcomes such as delayed transfers of care hitting their lowest level in three years.
Professor Willett said: “Many in the NHS and social care have no idea of the complexity of the other care system yet we are interfacing with them all of the time.
“The NHS traditionally presents change from an evidenced-based and population-benefit perspective, and local government often sees such change from the individual constituents’ day to day life circumstances and their holistic social need.”
“Changing health and care needs, the imperative of financial pressures, and the advent of integrated care systems means the conditions are right for a major shift in attitude.”
He called on health and local government leaders to seize “the greatest opportunity in 70 years to remake the NHS and local authority partnership and improve the health of their communities”.