Observations Body Politic

Future proofing the NHS: the new care models

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1505 (Published 31 March 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1505
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist, London
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}btinternet.com

Convergences and overlaps in the two main parties’ health policies may be confusing to voters but good for the NHS

We have seen the future, and it is quite confusing. That’s because several versions of the future are jostling for the limelight, each slightly different from the next.

Is the future to be combined health and social care, as exemplified by the Better Care Fund,1 where investing in social care aims to cut admissions and pay for itself? That was the idea before last, so it’s disappeared from the headlines for the moment, but work hasn’t stopped.

Is it to be the Manchester model of semi-devolved budgets run by shared NHS and local government authorities in the big cities, unveiled with much excitement in March?

Or are the new care models in the 29 recently announced “vanguard” sites the shape of the future NHS in England? These come in three different flavours, by the way, just in case anybody isn’t concentrating.

A cynic might say that all this activity is smoke blown in the face of the electorate to distract attention from the actual state of the NHS as the election nears. The timing and content of the Manchester announcement, in …

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