The view for the future – five year forward view

The new Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, believes the NHS needs a long term plan and, in essence, a change in the way in which it delivers services. He has set out his proposal to run the NHS in a five year forward view.

He says the world has changed and this means the NHS needs to adapt to these changes and exploit the scientific and technological advances that have been made. He wants the NHS to take a long term view and to support general practitioners in providing more integrated care.

What is the forward view?

The forward view presents some exciting and real opportunities for health care professionals. The Chief Executive wants the UK healthcare system to become more localised, enabling practitioners to target services to the needs of their local population. This will lead to the development of new models for the delivery of care.

It is acknowledged that practitioner input is vital to the establishment of successful new models of care especially as it is envisaged that more services are to be provided in the primary care setting. NHS England will therefore need to have open dialogue with primary care providers to share their experiences and address the barriers they face and thereby design new care pathways.

One model which has been highlighted is Multispecialty Community Services. This sees large practices taking on more responsibility for the provision of care and in doing so having the ability to employ or partner up with consultants, provide outpatient consultations, run local community hospitals and possibly take delegated responsibility for the NHS budget.

The forward view GPs

What the Forward View says with some certainty is that whilst traditional GP practices will remain, there is the inevitability that primary care will be delivered by group practices – federations.

A federation is a group of practices coming together to provide services and share resources and ideas. Federations are already in existence across the country, some operating very successfully. Now, more emphasis is going to be placed on group practices.

Operating through a federation can give practitioners the collaborative strength to compete for new contracts, the opportunity to voice and lead on the development of new care pathways and the ability to then cater for large patient groups.

Practices thinking about the future and preparing for the many changes that may come may find themselves coming to the conclusion that it is now necessary to come together and form a federation.

How Hempsons can help

It is important to obtain legal advice at an early stage to understand the options that are available to you. Hempsons is a highly experienced in advising general practitioners and provider organisations, helping them understand and action the options available.