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Westminster Forum

Westminster Forum

NHS Long Term Plan

Wednesday 12th February 2020

Elske recently attended a Westminster Forum which focused on priorities for the NHS Assembly - the group established to advise and drive implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan.

On the day, a mixture of Assembly members, NHS bodies, patients, local government and industry all came together to hear recommendations for Government and Parliament from NHS England and NHS Improvement for an NHS Integrated Care Bill designed to encourage partnership and help deliver the NHS Long Term Plan.

It is essential that Heart Valve Voice capitalise on valve disease being included in the NHS Long Term Plan. Forums like this help us understand, and learn from, the strategic direction of the plans, enabling us to align our strategic direction and shape an agenda with our Gold Standard of Care that ensures optimal patient pathways.

The need for the NHS to improve data sharing was central to many discussions. Be it the integration of care between social and health care, using data driven evidence to improve care and harness innovation, or the sharing of data between sectors, effective data management will be a key component in delivering the NHS Long Term Plan.

Elske heard that the sharing of data between sectors is negatively impacting integration, and until this is resolved the NHS will continue to encounter difficulties in delivering optimal pathways. At a recent meeting at Health Innovation Manchester we discussed using app technology to improve this. Patients could document their history in an app which would give them a personal record of their care they could then share with clinicians to ensure continuity of care. We believe this kind of innovation will play a key role in in navigating this problem.

National policy discussions centred around problems concerning the work force. Recruitment will be key in ensuring there is sufficient workforce to deliver the Long Term Plan. However retaining the current workforce is also required as well as the re-modelling of traditional structures to create crossover between departments.

At Heart Valve Voice we understand that innovation is more than just tech based, and that the innovation of networks and models of care will be core to navigating strains on the workforce. In a recent blog Wil discussed the workforce strain on Echo Departments, with data showing this strain is likely to worse. With 35% of Echo Departments having more than one unfilled post and 42% having one or more Sonographers planning to retire, the challenges faced are complex and diverse and we need to be innovative and rethink models of care to ensure the Long Term Plan delivers for valve disease patients.

Elske found the discussion on primary care particularly pertinent for Heart Valve Voice. We continue to look at ways of how we can work with primary care networks to improve the detection and treatment of valve disease. CEO Wil Woan said “this focus on primary care is integral in delivering a Long Term Plan. Heart Valve Voice are putting together dedicated Advisory Board of Primary Care Specialists to focus on improving the primary care services for heart valve disease patients and boost detection and treatment.”

“The continued improvement of primary care networks will be central to the future of the healthcare system. Whether it is looking at how we can utilise primary care to improve detection and treatment of disease, or, finding ways we can integrate other systems into primary care networks and community focused care to deliver an improved service - a focus on innovating primary care networks is key.” Chris Arden

The Westminster Forum provided us with an opportunity to see how the NHS Long Term Plan is progressing and identify how we can work with them and our Gold Standard of Care to ensure we deliver for valve disease patients. We will continue to monitor the developments and ensure we are capitalising on the work being done on valve disease by NHS England.