Why do we need to change?

Since its creation in 1948 the NHS has constantly adapted and it must continue to do so as the world and our health needs change. We have many great people working in our services – and we want to support staff to continue to do an excellent job; providing safe care for everyone in the future.

There have been some big improvements in health and social care over the last 15 years. For example, people with cancer and heart conditions are experiencing better care and living longer. However, people’s needs have changed and they are generally living longer. They want their health and care services in a place and at a time that is right for them. For many, this means care that is provided at home, or in local healthcare centres - not in a hospital.

At the same time, people are waiting longer for treatment and spending lengthy periods of time in hospital when they could be at home, or seen by their GP or at a local healthcare centre.

Things can also seem unnecessarily complicated sometimes. For example, people having to repeat themselves to doctors, nurses and care workers and sometimes having to go to lots of different appointments in different places. This could work better and services could be more joined up and easier to understand and use.

There are some big staff challenges that we need to deal with. Even though in recent years the number of qualified clinical staff in the NHS rose by 3.9 per cent, there are not enough nationally for some services. As healthcare has developed, so has the role of doctors and nurses. Care and treatment can be provided by a wide range of healthcare professionals - not just doctors. Working like this would mean people being seen and treated more quickly.

We’ve got some tough financial pressures too which is mostly down to increased demand on services and people living longer. It’s a good thing that so many people are living longer but it means the way we work needs to change to meet the needs of an ageing population, so they can live well.

As the organisations that plan, fund and deliver services, we also need to change to keep pace. By making changes now, we can be sure that the services we rely on today will be able to meet the future needs of our population.

The most powerful way to bring about change is by working together across local communities and the different services we deliver.

You can learn more about how we're working together to make your health and care services fit for the future in the what we do section.

You can see examples of how organisations across the region are already working together to improve health and care services in the videos on the right.