Our Future Health & Happiness – an essay by Joan Pons Laplana

My vision for the future.

Our National Health Service is at breaking point.

NHS is going through a tough moment. We live in on a time that we are reminded constantly that we need to work more efficiently and effectively  to do more with less, they are asking us to go the extra mile on a daily basis but unless the frontline staff feels supported and engaged, the organisations will fail to do it. When you ask the frontline staff how they feel, a common word keeps repeating: Stress! When the stress goes up, the passion automatically goes down and the ability to go the extra mile disappear.

 

With increasing financial pressures and soaring demand, the NHS is changing. Questions over quality, services, technology and funding make it hard to imagine what the NHS might look like in 10 years’ time.

For me there is one solution to make sure that the NHS continue to be the best health system in the world. We need to turn the NHS upside down and empower frontline staff and patients. If we really want to deliver patient centred care we need to give more control to them.

Critical to the future of the NHS, is that the public takes greater responsibility for its own health and wellbeing. Us as health professionals we must support them. Patients need to stop being passive consumers of care and become active and leading partners in their own health. Individual responsibility and lifestyle choices are as important to the success of the system as the quality or quantity of care provided.

In a healthy and happy future, patients are actively involved in decisions about their treatment, co-designing solutions with increased choice over the type of care that they receive.

Patient’s choice should be enhanced. Our role as a health workers needs to change from a provider to a facilitator, and support the individual on its choices. Our role will be to provide the public with sufficient and detailed information (on treatments and providers) to help make informed decisions about the care they receive. We will be their ‘Advocates’ within the system to help them navigate their options and make ‘good’ decision.

A big cultural change need to happen between the health care professionals. Most of our focus is in trying to return people onto a healthy state. Most of us become doctors, nurses or physiotherapist to help to make people better. This mentality needs to change. A big emphasis need to be put in prevention. Our role needs to move from saviours to prevent illness happening on the first place. A lot of us are not ready. We don’t need more health workers trying to be heroes. It’s a battle that we will never going to win because we are design to die. Our mentality should shift into thinking how to maintain people healthy on their community for as long as possible. It’s like  you tell a fireman that suddenly his main job is not to extinguish fires but to prevent fires happening in the first place. Resistance is unavoidable, but as my grandmother used to say: prevention is cheaper than the cure.

Another key point for a happy future is that all of us will make a better used of the technology. Technology plays a key role in a ‘healthy state’ NHS, both for patients and the public, and for the system. We are living on a 21st century society where communication is fast and accessible but our NHS still using technology from 50 years ago. Primary Care and Hospitals will be connected and patients will have only one journey and all the notes will be on a cloud where anybody will be able to access electronically. Patients will have the ownership of their notes.

In my vision the community will be key in supporting their people in staying healthy.

By empowering the people and creating stronger links with their neighbours and community something magic happens. Trust emerges and when people have trust they become more confident, and they are able to take charge of their lives knowing that somebody in their community will watch their back.

In my happy future we need to embrace the best of the present returning to some values of the past.

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