United Lincolnshire Hospital’s Trust chief executive Jan Sobieraj gave his initial thoughts on the nationwide NHS Long Term Plan during a meeting of the organisation’s board.
Health bosses at the time had not seen the fully published plans, however, media outlets had already reported on how Government officials were saying the project could save up to 500,000 lives.
The plan, which will see an extra £20 billion injected into the NHS by 2023, will see GPs, mental health and community care get the biggest funding increases as the focus shifts away from hospital treatment into home and community care.
Mr Sobieraj said: “The first thing to say is it’s a really exciting opportunity for the NHS because the NHS is going to be receiving this new money over the next few years and that’s despite some of the pressures on Government on its expenditure programme so we feel quite privileged to have that opportunity.
“It’s not just about the money but a whole new approach and what we’ve picked up is some of the things which were pointed out in our five-year plan back in Autumn 2016 across Lincolnshire, known as the STP.”
He said this included the main themes of self-care, better ways of supporting people with mental health, the use of technology and early cancer detection in children.
It also included bringing care closer to home, rather than in hospitals, with Mr Sobieraj saying: “The nature of illness has changed since the NHS was formed 70 years ago when the hospital was the only place you could go for proper treatment. That’s no longer the case, primary care plays a huge role.”
A timeline published by the Government asks for draft local plans to be published by April of this year with the full five-year plans following in Autumn.
Mr Sobieraj said he would like to see consultation on the implications of the long-term plan happening “sooner rather than later”.
“If there are any specific service changes of significance to patients and staff we’ll absolutely go out to consultation formally on that but what you’re seeing today is the excitement around a different approach to how NHS services are provided which won’t require consultation because everyone agrees it’s a good thing.”