The provision of healthcare in the UK currently stands at a critical juncture, with the COVID-19 pandemic having tested every aspect of the country’s healthcare infrastructure and policy makers now examining proposals that would bring about the most significant overhaul of the NHS in a decade. The policy decisions taken in the months ahead will shape the delivery of patient care long into the future.
As we mark the first anniversary of the pandemic, Transform's White Paper – Integration, collaboration and innovation: establishing a whole systems approach to patient care in the age of COVID-19 – reflects on the lessons learnt from the pandemic, considering new opportunities for collaboration and innovation across the NHS and independent sector.
COVID-19 has forced the UK’s healthcare system – along with many other organisations and facets of the economy – to adapt, innovate and re-think established systems and ways of working in order to enable essential continuity of care. This adaptation and change in mindset, coupled with the urgent need for increased capacity, helped to successfully deliver the ground-breaking collaborative partnership between the NHS and independent providers in March 2020 – an essential component of the UK’s response to the pandemic. The partnership made vital additional capacity available to an over-burdened NHS, ensuring that essential care was maintained to the greatest extent possible in the most challenging of circumstances.
Within this context of extraordinary change and opportunity to take full advantage of the learnings from the past 12 months, this White Paper sets out Transform’s perspectives on how the public and independent sectors can build on the shared experiences of the last year to create a truly collaborative and integrated health and social care model – drawing on the strengths of all providers, embracing innovation and ultimately delivering the best possible patient care, free at the point of use, wherever and whenever it is needed.