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04 Feb 2018 Calls for transformation in NHS

The great-niece of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan says “courage, passion and a different kind of investment” is needed to transform a health service “which is clearly not working”.

Bevan Commissioner Nygaire Bevan, the great niece of Anuerin Bevan, spoke out about the urgent need for change at the launch of the Bevan Commission’s latest White Paper on February 1, 2018. The paper which is part of the Commission’s Exploiting the Welsh Health Legacy series is titled: A New Way of Planning: Working Towards A Prudent Model of Health & Care was launched this week (Thursday, February 1).


Bevan Commissioner and great niece of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan, Nygaire Bevan said: We must stop investing in secondary care to keep trying do the same role - it is clearly not working.

“We need to do more work at the primary and community care levels and also ensure we are joining up primary care with social care and the third sector.

“This will require a change in the direction of NHS investment – and also courage and a real passion to see it through and make it succeed.

“To quote my Uncle Nye – ‘I have found in my life that the burdens of public life are too great to be borne for trivial ends. The sacrifices are too much, unless we have something really serious in mind’.”

The Commission launched its second paper calling for a new model of health and care in Wales at the former Caerphilly Miners Hospital. Caerphilly Miners is a charity working to give back a restored part of the Caerphilly Miners Hospital to the community as social enterprise, delivering services to support wellbeing. The charity aims to tackle inequality, economic exclusion and social isolation and also support people of all ages and circumstances.

Bevan Commission Director Helen Howson said the centre was the perfect venue to launch their new model. She said: “Caerphilly Miners Centre goes back to the miners’ ethos of collaboration, community enterprise and self-help.

This community hub  really demonstrates a shift in the type of care which can be provided closer to the community - and is a real-life example of community activity at its best.

“Aneurin Bevan said 'The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it’.

“But this needs to be an NHS which fits the lives we live today and is built on ways of working which are relevant now - and in the future.

“We cling to the mindset ‘but we have always done it this way’ at our peril.

“We must be brave enough to make big changes to the way our NHS works and bold enough to find innovative and creative solutions together.

“We don’t have time to stand still - doing more of the same is just not an option.”

The Commission, which is made up of international health experts and is chaired by Professor Sir Mansel Aylward, has proposed a new model which calls for prevention first wherever possible and which avoids unnecessary admission to hospital.

It looks to move away from a medical model and encourages everyone to share responsibility and play their part in promoting and supporting better health and wellbeing.

Helen Howson added: “The model recognises the need to transform the provision of health and care services within communities to ensure we start from the needs of people and where possible predict and pre-empt deterioration in those at greatest risk of admission to hospital.

We also recognise the need to develop the skills of staff such as community nurses, pharmacists and paramedics to help us deal with those with more complex needs within the community, as well as developing new integrated community health and care roles to support people’s physical, social, psychological and environmental needs - rather than as separate packages of care.”

Bevan Commission Deputy Chair Chris Martin added that the latest Commission paper was a culmination of considerable international expertise and thinking - which also responds to the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Review into Health and Care in Wales last month.

He added that the Commission believes it will help address some of the underlying problems we are currently seeing in our hospitals.

Mr Martin said: The winter crisis we have all seen in our A&E departments across the country is symptomatic of a much deeper underlying problem.

“The NHS’s current demand-side medical model is outdated. The recent Parliamentary Review has highlighted this and we believe the review is a huge opportunity for change.”

The Parliamentary Review, which was led by Ruth Hussey, calls for four goals for the health and social care system in future, referred to as the ‘Quadruple Aim’. The goals are to improve population health; improve the quality of care for individuals; increase the wellbeing of health and care staff and achieve increased value from the funding of health and care. 

Mr Martin added: “We hope the review can kick-start a revolution in the way we think about health and wellbeing. This paper is a  roadmap of how that revolution can be implemented.

“And a revolution means everyone — people, patients, employers and local authorities alike — must all recognise their own responsibilities in helping to create a healthier society and so lift the burden on our NHS services.

“This new model builds upon the quadruple aim described by the review which is also underpinned by the Commission’s Prudent Healthcare principles.”

Aneurin Bevan’s great niece, Nygaire Bevan, gave the final word at the launch saying: “We believe this is THE overarching health and care model and framework needed for Wales.

“It takes into account all of the factors which impact on health and wellbeing - not just treating illness.

“It promotes a shared responsibility and does not default to our severely under pressure hospitals to ‘pick up the pieces’.”

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