The Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) has cautioned that the next government should avoid engaging in a comprehensive NHS re-organisation.
In its pre-election manifesto, the College is calling on the next government to address “the critical issues preventing the delivery of a 21st century national health service”. However, it says “focusing on staff wellbeing and integrated care is what’s needed to create a sustainable NHS, not a total restructure”.
Government can enable providers to work collaboratively to deliver integrated health and social care, and improved access to services and perioperative care, it says. The College advises that the next Government should remove legislative barriers, realign funding incentives and provide time and financial support to integrated care leaders, enabling them to take their work to the next stage
It also calls for a long-term view on health service planning and recommends the establishment of an independent Office for Health and Care Sustainability, supporting the sustainability of an integrated health and social care system.
In line with other organisations, the RCoA stresses the need to address the wellbeing of NHS staff and advocates for a national morale and welfare strategy, with recommendations for improved, flexible, working conditions, with staff physical and mental health and wellbeing a priority.
“The UK public and NHS clinicians across all medical disciplines are expecting our politicians to listen to those with the experience and understanding on how to start resolving the on-going healthcare crisis,” said Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the RCoA.
“Workforce retention is low and there is poor morale amongst clinicians of all grades. What the next government needs to deliver is not a comprehensive re-structure, but a focus on integration across services as well as investment in infrastructure and staff wellbeing so we can make the best use of our resources and work together to build a truly sustainable 21st century NHS,” he said.