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Practice managers make wishes for the NHS’ 75th birthday

by Rima Evans
5 July 2023

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Today marks 75 years of service for the NHS.

A survey from the NHS Confederation released today shows that there is ‘enduring public support for the NHS’ with 87% of people agreeing that the health service should provide a comprehensive service available to all and should remain free at the point of delivery.

Half (52%) of the 1,555 adults surveyed from England, Wales and Northern Ireland agreed that Britain’s National Health Service is one of the best in the world.

The public also set out the changes it would like to see, and the areas of most concern.

Almost half (45%) said they want the NHS to prioritise increasing the number of staff working in it and 30% said improving staff wellbeing in the near future was a priority.

Reducing waiting times for core services was also reported as a concern – 36% want the NHS to prioritise reducing waiting times for A&E and 35% for routine hospital treatment and care. A third (32%) said improving access to face-to-face GP appointments was a priority.  

However, the majority of people do not think the NHS receives enough funding (69%), and six in 10 think there needs to make big changes to the way it runs and provides services to improve.

Also to coincide with the NHS’ 75th birthday, a letter sent today by three leading health think-tanks to the leaders of the three largest political parties in England has warned that, ‘75 years after its creation, the National Health Service is in critical condition’.

The Health Foundation, Nuffield Trust and The King’s Fund have called on prime minister Rishi Sunak, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Ed Davey to end ‘years of short-termism in NHS policy-making’.

‘It is time to move away from quick fixes and over-promising what the NHS can deliver and give it the tools it needs to succeed’ it added. Or it will ‘risk the health service being unable to adapt to the huge challenges ahead and reach its centenary.’

Meanwhile, we asked practice managers what their birthday wish for the NHS would be and what changes they most hope for in order that the health service delivers care that is sustainable and effective.

This is what they said:

Gary Hughes, former practice business manager and founder / director of Leadership in Practice

My birthday wish is that the Government, the NHS, and those working in it learn to truly talk and listen to one another. Only by doing this can the NHS move forward positively.

Kay Keane, practice manager, Urban Village Medical Practice in Manchester and founding member and director of the IGPM

The NHS is the greatest gift our grandparents and great grandparents gave to us 75 years ago. I have been fortunate to meet some amazing people through my career within the service and know that the hearts and minds of those of us currently employed will make sure that the NHS’ 80th, 100th and 150th birthday is as big a celebration as this year’s. My wish for the future of the NHS is that we continue to regard it as our greatest national asset.

Martin Turner, practice and PCN manager, Staveleigh Medical Centre

My wish is for the NHS to still be here in the next 75 years, allowing people to live well for longer.

Val Denton, practice manager, East Trees Health Centre

My birthday wishes for our NHS are:

  • For hard hitting campaigns to educate patients to help themselves more without assuming GPs have an answer for everything.
  • A stop to Government campaigns that give patients false expectations but inform them how much things cost every time they attend A&E inappropriately or when they do not attend appointments.
  • To have much more integrated working between primary and secondary care, and better understanding of both from each others’ perspective.
  • To shout out about our successes – the NHS is an amazing organisation that is FREE to all and is still the envy of countries that charge.
  • To have every GP practice working to a model where care navigation is so effective, there is no need for duty doctors, no need for endless triage lists and no need for patients to rock up at A&E because they couldn’t get an appointment. Which ultimately means more access and more capacity.

Tracy Dellpractice business manager at Cleckheaton Group Practice, West Yorkshire and primary care management consultant

My wish would be for a single interoperable electronic patient record across primary, secondary and community care so that patients and all who care for them can coordinate their needs holistically. Paperless and real personalised care!

Tracy Green, primary care consultant and CQC specialist adviser

Happy 75th Birthday to the NHS! If I could give anything to the NHS for its birthday, I would wrap up a variety of things covering many areas so it delivers, safe, effective care for all of us. These would include:

  • Engaged, well trained people. Let’s make sure the NHS can attract and retain talent and reform the way clinical training is planned so staff can enjoy have a personal and home life in the location of their choosing. Let’s have a fantastic development programme for all GP staff that is centrally funded and sourced via a framework and provides the same nationally accredited training for all roles.
  • Let’s have a joined up, functioning patient record (I know this is in the recovery and delivery plan, but we have been desperate for this for so many years) across all health and social care including ALL GP practices.
  • Appropriate estates. In other words, larger health centres with good transport links, access to numerous health and social care professionals, voluntary services, and social activities such as gyms, gardening, coffee shops, crafts and much more. Importantly, however, we must not forget the smaller, remote practices, so transport and access must also be considered for those people.
  • Contract reform, so payments are no longer allocated via an outdated formulary and practices can really put patients at the centre of what they are delivering with a simplified financial model.
  • The NHS to provide opportunities for newer models such as non-partnership, while recognising that partnerships can and do work for thousands of providers.

To make a comment or add your birthday wish for the NHS see #NHSBirthdayWish