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Keeping our focus on what’s important

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15 December 2017

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The Healthcare Leader team watched the November Budget with great excitement, but came away, once again, with nothing but disappointment. And not just for healthcare leaders, but for everyone.

The Healthcare Leader team watched the November Budget with great excitement, but came away, once again, with nothing but disappointment. And not just for healthcare leaders, but for everyone.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said in his Budget speech: ‘We will always back the NHS’ and said the NHS was ‘under pressure’. He announced he would put £2.8bn into the healthcare system in England. This includes £335m to cope with the winter crisis and £1.6bn for general running costs in 2018. But this was far less than the £4bn that health think-tanks said was needed.

No wonder health leaders felt the Chancellor had not delivered what was needed. Figures from the BBC show that the health budget has typically had an increase of 4% a year above inflation to help it deal with the ageing population and the cost of medicines. However, over the last seven years that figure has fallen to nearly 1% – and Mr Hammond’s extra money does not go far enough to remedy the funding shortfall.

So with a diminishing sum in the piggy bank, low morale, rising demand from patients, waiting lists soaring to sky-high levels and the NHS’s very future in a state of uncertainty, how are NHS workers to remain confident about their careers? Although the NHS is made up of 1.3 million people, all helping to build a better health service, there never seems to be enough money to fi x the problems.

Healthcare professionals in the NHS doan amazing job, often in tough situations. Limited amounts of funding will contribute to unhappiness about the future of the NHS, both for those working for it and for the country.

Mr Hammond has ignored one of the crucial elements needed to help the NHS – more money. But more disheartening, I think, is that he is forgetting that if the NHS suffers, people also suffer. This lack of support is disappointing for every single taxpayer, not just the NHS staff who provide the amazing care we are rightly proud of.

In this issue of Healthcare Leader, as always, we bring you examples of the great work being done in these challenging times. Our main interview is with the NHS National Knowledge Service director Sir Muir Gray. Turn to page 22 to read about his journey in healthcare and his thoughts on improving the NHS. Unnecessary A&E attendances are a problem for all CCGs. Our reporter Léa Legraien has a case study on a CCG that reduced this burden and saved £500,000. Turn to page 31.

And if NHS offi cial-speak makes you want to kick a hole in a silo, we have an antidote. Our main feature this issue is our Cut The Crap campaign. We’ve decided it’s time to scrap our ‘support chassis’ and ‘set fire to the framework’ of obfuscating jargon in the healthcare sector. We’ve polled some leading figures and compiled a hitlist of most hated buzzwords. Tell us if they tally with yours and tweet us more examples at @HCLeaderNews using the #cutthecrap hashtag. Turn to page 28.

Thus, with the pipes cleared and focus freshened, one task remains – to wish all the readers of Healthcare Leader a very happy 2018.

Angela Sharda is deputy editor of Healthcare Leader.

You can follow her @angelasharda or email her at angelasharda@cogora.com

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