Sir Jonathan Asbridge explores a system that is integrated, person-centred and community focused – both for the patient and NHS staff

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We’ve all imagined a health system where every member of staff is bought into a common goal, idea generation is championed and everyone feels valued and supported in their roles and willing to go the extra mile to achieve that goal together. I’m part of a group of health experts who believe that vision could be a reality.

The Independent Coalition Group, of which I am a member, came together in 2017 to discuss and make positive tracks to a starting point to realising this vision. We looked towards a vision of a truly integrated care system where healthcare is provided to people as and when they need it, and importantly where it is best for them to receive it.

Principle Care System

We also agreed the premise that health services in the UK need to move to a Principal Care model whereby healthcare maximises people’s ability to look after themselves.

Central to this vision of positivity is acknowledging that the greatest asset the health system has is its staff. We need to put people at the heart of everything – that includes patients but, importantly, those providing the healthcare – the staff.

How would we do this?

In October 2017 we published a report entitled The 2,000 days project: Practical ideas for reforming health and care. Bringing joy back into the workplace is Principle 3 of our proposed framework: NHS leaders need to see joy and fulfilment in the workplace as key to delivering person-centred care and nurturing innovation.

How often does someone have an idea, only for it to be quashed: “We have no money”, “We’d have to change the system”, “It’s just too complicated”.

The ICG’s vision is a system that is integrated, person-centred and community focused. By harnessing existing resources, we can realign services to where they are most needed and partner with the best people and organisations to provide the best care. By introducing technology we can also help patients access the best and most appropriate care safely and efficiently. The Principal Care approach would free professionals to perform the roles they were trained to do.

We want to support everyone working in the NHS, liberate the system to be innovative and, importantly, do what is best for the patient.

Sir Jonathan Asbridge is clinical director at Healthcare at Home, which funded the ICG meetings, and is also president and chairman of Council at the European Society for Person Centred Healthcare.

Read the ICG report at: