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White paper shifts services out of hospitals

Interim RCSLT Policy Officer Matt Aston explains what the new white paper, Our health, our care, our sa , means for you and how you can influence future developments

t the end of January, the Government published its latest health white paper, Our health, our care, our say, announcing a fundamental shift in focus that will provide integrated health and social care services in local communities and closer to people’s homes. A

Over the last few years, the Government has focused on improving hospitals: building new ones, repairing existing ones, improving standards and bringing down waiting lists. But because the large majority of people’s contact with the NHS takes place outside of hospital, the next phase of its reforms will focus on improving primary care and community services.

The new white paper has three key themes that fit closely with the holistic approach to social care taken by SLTs to maximise patients’ communicating skills and quality of life:

  • Putting people more in control of their

own health and care

  • Enabling and supporting health,

independence and well being Rapid and convenient access to high-

quality, cost-effective care closer to home It also identifies three further challenges: To meet the expectations of the public To do so in an affordable, value-for-

business case for their role. They need to demonstrate how their work – and crucially its outcomes – correspond with, and can help to deliver, the objectives set out in the white paper.

From 2007, PCTs will be expected to ensure that providers of community health services accord with the direction of the white paper, in that service provision must be (a) equitable, fair and focused on the most vulnerable; (b) high-quality and designed around people’s lives; and (c) value for taxpayers’ money. SLTs need to identify if this is the best framework to be used to inform assessment of service provision (in terms of contestability).

The RCSLT aims to develop an audit tool to support speech and language therapy service providers and will work to influence commissioners to ask for evidence from the use of this tool.

What you can do You can make a good case for helping the NHS to achieve value for taxpayers’ money. Faster interventions with personalised, high quality care are both a positive step for patients and mean less burden on the NHS over time.

SLTs need to identify and develop outcome

measures for their work, for example, using the RCSLT Clinical Guidelines (2005), Communicating Quality 3 (May 2006) and various position papers to inform this.

The Department of Health will use the following outcomes, endorsed by the white paper, as measures to structure its own goal- setting for health and social care in the Local Area Agreements (LAAs) negotiated over the next two years: Improved health and emotional well being Improved quality of life Making a positive contribution Patient choice and control Freedom from discrimination Economic well being Personal dignity Speech and language therapy services also need to find out what local priorities are in the LAAs and how to influence them.

Matt Aston Email: matt.aston@rcslt.org

References: RCSLT.RCSLT Clinical Guidelines.RCSLT,2005. www.rcslt.org/resources Williamson,K (Ed).Communicating Quality 3.RCSLT (to be published May 2006 and will be available at www.rcslt.org). Department of Health.Our health,our care,our say.DH, 2006. www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics

money way To shift the system towards preventative

and community-based care The white paper and its determination to shift resources from secondary to primary and community settings will result in changes to which SLTs, along with the rest of the NHS, will take time to adjust.

SLTs need to think about how they fit into the new environment and also how they can exploit its opportunities. The Government has pledged to ensure that the NHS and its commissioners focus spending on prevention and public health, and to do this with better value for money.

SLTs need to show how they are integral to this new approach through presenting a

What the RCSLT is doing

The RCSLT is working on your behalf to support the profession at a national level by influencing the development and delivery of some of the white paper’s key proposals. Actions include: A national conference to inform AHPs about Commissioning a Patient-led NHS in

London on 27 April 2006 A seminar with the NHS Confederation on 28 March that contributed to a joint leading-

edge briefing on commissioning Working with the DH to influence the development of tariffs Working with the NHS’s National Workforce Review Team, to inform the shift towards

the new approach to planning and developing a workforce planning toolkit to support local practitioners in line with these developments Get involved in the debate and help to influence the future of our health and social care. Visit: www.rcslt.org/april27 and book your place on Commissioning a Patient-led NHS: what does it mean for you?


April 2006 bulletin


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