This site is intended for health professionals only

NHS Commissioning Board chair: ‘NHS needs 10 year vision’

The head of the NHS Commissioning Board has spoken of a new 10 year vision for the NHS which recognises the safety benefits of centralising services.

NHS Commissioning Board chair, Professor Malcolm Grant said the board had given some ‘preliminary consideration' to developing a 10 year vision for the NHS that would involve the board, the Government and arms' length bodies.

‘This is not a top-down plan which the board will publish. The constraints that you and we operate under are financial, the mandate and the NHS constitution.

‘But the biggest issue is going to be changes that are inexorable and already in the system.'

He went on to cite how acute stroke units in London had improved 90-day mortality figures by 40 per cent.

‘Ambulances know directly to take the patient to one of those eight units and the consultants there, the trained team are there, the technology is there, the intervention is immediate. And the rate of improvement in patient safety has been dramatic'

‘And that model I think is inexorable of better clinical safety being produced in institutions and hospitals where there's a real concentration of expertise that's constantly doing those procedures. That would have an impact on the provision of our trusts. ‘

He added: ‘What will be needed in the 5 – 10 year vision is an understanding of how centralisation advances the course of safety across health care and how we use the facilities that we've got for a different model for patients with chronic conditions.'

Professor Grant, speaking at a Commissioning Coalition event for CCG leaders earlier this week also spoke of the need for the mandate the board will receive from the Secretary of State, to be brief and focused.

He said: ‘The more material that ends up in a mandate the more obscure is the primary message of what it is we need to achieve.

‘What we must resist is the pressure to have every clinical condition described in the mandate because I fear that will lead quite rapidly to obfuscation and confusion.

He added: ‘I have this childish ambition that it's a mandate you could publish in The Sun.

‘As a stranger joining your tribe I am struck by the jargon, by the unintelligibility of so much that I read.and I really hope that you will join with me in trying to clarify, simplify and produce simplicity in everything that we do because obfuscation is the enemy of accountability.'