The NHS has got to raise its game and get away from thinking that patching together the service is enough to keep it going, Mike Farrar has said.
The NHS Confederation’s chief executive was speaking ahead of its annual conference in Liverpool this week - to be attended by 1,500 healthcare leaders from around the country.
A major poll of senior NHS leaders has uncovered the need to rebuild public confidence in the service after the Francis report, and find ways to solve numerous problems posed by its growing financial burdens.
Real and lasting changes to the system are needed, Mr Farrar said. He wants to see improvements to acute and primary care and more inclusion of patient and public opinions on the service. He described the Francis report as a “wake up call for us all” and challenged the NHS to bring about a culture of openness and transparency.
Mr Farrar said the NHS needs to listen to the views of patients and their families and act on them to get the service back on track, while working to cope with the continued financial challenges it faces.
He continued: “We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of the challenges that lie ahead, but there is cause for optimism. The NHS remains one of the most renowned health services in the world and there is much we should all be proud of.
“It is crystal clear that we need to change our NHS if we want to improve the standards of care patients receive. The Francis report is a sharp reminder that as individuals and collectively as a health service we should never be complacent.
“Any system that wishes to improve needs to keep moving forward and evolving, changing the way it does things. The NHS is no different. People working in the NHS genuinely want to improve the care patients receive, in a way that is sustainable in the long term. Making these changes won’t be easy, but as the survey shows, unless we take collective action now, we will all be worse off. “