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Could a Royal Commission save the NHS?

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By lealegraien@cogora.com
8 January 2018

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A Royal Commission could ‘secure the long-term future of the NHS’, have argued two peers.

The report, written by Lord Saatchi and Dominic Nutt, sets out the priorities and issues a Royal Commission should address to ensure the sustainability of the NHS over the decades to come.

Robert Colvile, director for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), said: ‘As it turns 70, the NHS is suffering from multiple chronic conditions.

A Royal Commission could ‘secure the long-term future of the NHS’, have argued two peers.

The report, written by Lord Saatchi and Dominic Nutt, sets out the priorities and issues a Royal Commission should address to ensure the sustainability of the NHS over the decades to come.

Robert Colvile, director for the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), said: ‘As it turns 70, the NHS is suffering from multiple chronic conditions.

‘A Royal Commission can provide the kind of full-scale diagnosis needed to restore it to health, rather than having the health service limp on as best it can.’

What are the identified priorities?

·      Tackling patient unfairness

·      Improving outcomes and funding

·      Addressing the challenges of an ageing population

·      Increasing prevention

·      Redesigning social care

·      Enhancing data sharing while respecting privacy

What would the impact be?

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated that those types of efficiencies could provide an extra 3% of (GDP).

For example, creating more patient choice, such as encouraging patients to visit pharmacies for non-emergencies, would reduce unnecessary Accident and Emergency (A&E) admissions and take some pressure off the system.

The authors say that ‘increasing use of pharmacies for routine treatments, such as flu vaccinations, is already paying dividends in reduced workload for GP surgeries’.

Why a Royal Commission?

During the last three decades, the NHS has been through many attempted and current structural reforms, all showing ‘more than the usual political hyperactivity ‘ without ‘lasting political agreement over its appropriate future’.

With an increasing and ageing population and more expectations from patients, the authors believe that ‘a Royal Commission could provide a much-needed circuit-breaker for serious NHS reform’.

Who would run the Royal Commission?

The authors argue that the Royal Commission ‘must stand above party’ and be led by figures who stand outside of politics’.

Thy said: 'Equally, while the Royal Commission must represent all the NHS stakeholders, it cannot be dominated by them.

‘Representatives of the medical professions will of course have a vital role, but at the heart of the process must be patients and citizens who, alongside experts and professionals, must provide the inspiration for its deliberations.’

The full report can be assessed here.

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