Welcome to this latest edition of Hempsons’ healthcare newsbrief. Healthcare policy is always a challenging area to write about and this year the election, with its uncertain result, has made it even more so.
In this issue, we look at some of the big issues facing the NHS – issues which won’t go away regardless of which government is in power. The NHS has a vast estate. Not all of which is always used to capacity. Michael Dulhanty looks at Sir Robert Naylor’s recommendations for how the NHS could save money and match its estate more closely to its needs. Every board member needs to be aware of this and think what the review could mean for their trust.
Ross Clark looks at the move towards GP practices either formally merging or working more closely together. This has been partly prompted by the difficulties of recruitment and retention in general practice – and a desire to make GPs’ lives easier – but also by the vision of sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) of groupings of GPs covering up to 100,000 patients.
Jamie Foster looks at the potential development of accountable care systems and organisations. These could transform how healthcare is organised in England but it will take some time for STPs to move towards them. NHS England has identified some frontrunners which are in a position to start this journey.
One very real concern for boards is what happens what childbirth goes wrong and what their organisation’s liability is. In some sad cases, it is not just the baby which suffers harm – the mother and others witnessing the birth can also be affected psychologically. Richard O’Keeffe and Mirabel Williams look at the implications of a recent court ruling for trusts.
Finally, James Lawford Davies looks at the evolving technology of gene editing and how this is regulated in England. Many are fearful of the potential offered by this development but there is a strong legal framework around both research and treatment in this area.