I hope it is not too late to wish you a Happy New Year? I hope the year will be one where those of who live and work in Blackburn with Darwen find ways to be healthier and happier.
Over the holiday period I went to see a show based on the music of the Kinks, called Sunny Afternoon. In the 60s they were one of my favourite groups and I greatly admire Ray Davies as a songwriter. I went to see them several times and bought most of their records. The songs cover a wide range of topics and a regular feature of their music was looking back to the past. One album ‘Arthur’ (or the decline and fall of the British Empire) had songs about the changes people experienced in their lives after the war. Another,’ Village Green Preservation Society’ contained a collection of songs about steam trains and other aspects of English Life.
This brings me to wondering about the preservation of the NHS. The Five Year Forward View from NHS England suggested that the service designed in 1948 needs to change substantially to meet the needs of the people of England in 2020. The document says that the NHS may be the proudest achievement of our modern society but although the values that underpin the NHS have not changed the world has.
The NHS, it has been suggested, has been providing a ‘ sickness’ rather than a ‘health’ service and so there is a renewed emphasis on prevention finding out and tackling the root causes of ill health.
Secondly it is noted that people are taking greater control of many aspects of their lives and that this should apply in health with more people having access to their care records, better clinical information and more support to manage their own health.
In 1948 life, for many, was much shorter than now and a model for the NHS which thought that people would suffer from one condition and therefore see a specialist in that condition was acceptable but this may not be the best way of helping people with two or more conditions. The proposal is that the NHS dissolves the traditional boundaries and provides systems or networks of care, more care out of hospital and services integrated around the patient.
NHS England says that it will back diverse solutions and local leadership; so we must consider how we in the CCG work with the people of Blackburn with Darwen and the many organisations which operate in the field of health and well-being to design a care model which best fits our community.
I know that our local newspaper has been running a campaign to save our services and the number of people signing up in support shows that there is interest in having a debate about our local services. I hope that in the next few months I will be involved in lots of conversations so that I can hear what people think about how we can, prevent illness whenever possible, reduce health inequalities, reduce the variations in the quality of care, take advantage of new treatment options so that residents of Blackburn with Darwen live longer and live better.