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King’s fund

Chris Naylor: Integrated care—the end of the hospital as we know it?

25 Mar, 15 | by BMJ

Hospitals are often seen as an impediment to integrated care. The concern frequently voiced is that their dominant role in the health system makes it harder for commissioners to shift resources into the community, and to develop more coordinated services that cross organisational boundaries.

It is certainly true that an over-reliance on hospital based care—and the political reluctance to challenge this—has long been a barrier to necessary change in health systems across the world. Jean Rebert, one of the principal architects of the PRISMA integrated care system in Quebec, Canada, has made this case forcefully. Speaking at the World Congress on Integrated Care in Sydney last year, he said that in his experience, the greatest obstacle to integrated care is the political attractiveness of prioritising investment in hospitals over other forms of care. more…

John Appleby: The cost of reform

13 Feb, 15 | by BMJ

john-applebyAsked in 1972 whether the French Revolution had been good or bad, the then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai said that it was “too early to say.” As it turns out this was not an extreme example of the Chinese long view: Enlai was apparently opining about events that happened four years previously—in 1968—and not that other (somewhat more momentous) revolution that occurred more than 180 years earlier.

So, the coalition government’s reforms of the NHS: good or bad? As part of our review of the reforms of the NHS in England, the King’s Fund has argued that the changes introduced by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act led to a top-down reorganisation that has been damaging and distracting; structural change that is complex and confusing; and a new, fragmented system of leadership that is seen as a barrier to much needed change in services—such as integration across care and organisational boundaries. In short, the reforms were likely to turn out to be a costly diversion. more…

Chris Naylor: Is mental health finally becoming a political priority?

29 Jan, 15 | by BMJ

Last week saw announcements on mental health from both the government and the opposition. With the Liberal Democrats pledging to put mental health on the front page of their election manifesto, and Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, making mental health a core part of his concept of “whole person care,” are we starting to see mental health becoming a higher profile political issue? more…

Bev Fitzsimons: Supporting community providers to improve quality

9 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

bev_fitzsimonsIf you look at how the NHS is represented in the media, healthcare dramas tend to equal hospital dramas: Casualty, Holby City, even the marvellous Getting on. Community services often feature as slightly misty eyed nostalgia of district nurses and midwives on bicycles—a bit of a blast from the past.

Hospitals can sometimes be busy, confusing places, to be avoided unless absolutely necessary—especially by people who are already vulnerable, frightened, or confused. Care provided closer to (or in) people’s own homes is often preferable in many circumstances. more…

Chris Ham: The NHS Five Year Forward View—the man matters more than the plan

6 Nov, 14 | by BMJ

Something very important happened on 23 October and it wasn’t the publication of the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Far more important was the passion and confidence with which Simon Stevens launched the plan and challenged politicians to provide the funding needed to deliver it. His performance stood in stark contrast to the bickering over the despatch box on the same day, when Labour and the Conservatives sought to claim the plan as their own. more…

Hugh Alderwick: The ups and downs on the road to health service improvement

19 Sep, 14 | by BMJ

hugh_alderwickParallels between the successful transformation of the Veterans Health Administration (VA) in the United States and the changes needed in the NHS in England have been made for a number of years. But recent troubles at the VA offer some important lessons for the NHS in the future, as explored in a roundtable discussion held at the King’s Fund last week.

The story of the transformation of the VA is familiar to many. Once a fragmented and hospital centred public healthcare system, changes made in the late 1990s helped the VA to become an organisation renowned for providing high quality, affordable care. more…

Rachael Addicott and Kieran Walshe: How do CQC hospital inspections measure up?

5 Aug, 14 | by BMJ

rachael-addicottOver the past few years, we have seen several high profile failures of care in NHS acute hospitals in England, leading many in the system to question the ability of performance management and regulatory mechanisms to identify and act on poor performance.

Last year, in response to these events and concerns, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) developed a new model for inspecting and regulating NHS acute hospitals, and commissioned a team from Manchester Business School and the King’s Fund to evaluate this new and evolving approach as they rolled it out. more…

Vijaya Nath: Medical engagement—change or die

21 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

vijaya_nathMore than a year since Robert Francis’s recommendations, and after reports by Don BerwickSir Bruce Keogh, and the new Care Quality Commission inspection regime, we are still being challenged to demonstrate that healthcare is first and foremost focused on the needs of the patient.

At the same time, there has been a call for the most expensive assets in healthcare—the doctors—to step up and engage in management and leadership. We use the right words when writing about medical engagement, but how do we move from rhetoric to reality and, more importantly, why should doctors embrace this responsibility? more…

Hugh Alderwick: NHS performance—are we really getting it right?

24 Jun, 14 | by BMJ

hugh_alderwickAccording to the Commonwealth Fund, in the UK we’re getting it (mostly) right—or, at least, we’re getting it more right than our international counterparts. In their comparative study of health system performance in 11 countries, the UK ranks first across a range of measures covering quality, access, and efficiency of care, while the United States comes in last place.

While it’s nice to be told that the NHS is performing well, there are limits to how much we can learn from comparative rankings.

Firstly, different rankings by different people can tell us different things. The UK moves up and down in various international scorecards depending on which indicators have been included, and how different dimensions of performance have been weighted. Secondly, the Commonwealth Fund’s study is primarily designed to highlight poor performance in the US system. As we’re good at a lot of things the US isn’t—like access to care—we come out particularly well. more…

Bev Fitzsimons: Practical tools to improve patients’ experience

6 Jun, 14 | by BMJ

bev_fitzsimonsAt the King’s Fund, we have spoken a lot about the benefits of collective leadership lately. With the challenges currently facing the NHS, leaders at all levels across organisations need to learn to work together with a shared vision of providing care. Leadership needs to be distributed throughout organisations, working alongside patients, rather than concentrated in a few individuals.

Our Patient and Family Centred Care (PFCC) programme, run in partnership with the Health Foundation, aligns extremely well with this vision. It involves working with a number of clinically led, multi-disciplinary teams to achieve patient centred care, showing how teams can make small changes that make a big difference to patients. We have seen what a huge difference it makes to staff to feel that they have the tools at their disposal to put themselves in their patients’ shoes, and to make changes that improve their experience of care. more…

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