What if the NHS

The NHS if - Communicating integrated care in the NHS

What if people could access same-day GP appointments?
What if your GP practice had people there that could hook you up with non-medical ways of feeling better and quickly?
What if there were no queuing ambulances at hospitals & people dying on trolleys waiting outside A&E?

I stumbled across this amazingly well-written essay by a healthcare professional called Sue Brown last week. She'd entered The Kings Fund 'The NHS if' short essay competition last year and won with her inspiring piece. For those of you that don't work in the NHS, it is going through massive transformation right now, trying to join up and provide services together with other public and voluntary providers.

The 'dry' term for this is 'integrated care'. The basic premise being that people are more than the disease or condition they have. For someone to be truly healthy and well, living happily at their home in their community, they should be considered as a whole. A person's health and wellbeing is not just their physical health but their emotional and social wellbeing too.  

For example, someone that turns up at their GP practice saying that they feel depressed may indeed have need for medication. On closer inspection though (and this is what's explored in Sue's piece), there would be an effective system in future where said person would be supported by other local organisations. Unpaid bills or a broken relationship could be the cause of this person's depression so they might receive financial advice or relationship counselling. Said person may be supported to go out and meet other people by being supported to join a Pilates class. All in all, this is about considering a person as a whole and for providers to stop working in silos to support the same person together.

If you work in healthcare or the voluntary section, I urge you to spend five minutes reading the piece like I did and gaining a glimpse into Sue's perfectly poised 'what if' future.

As a communicator, I am constantly pushing myself to be as creative and clear as I can be when explaining future change in the NHS. I'm going to take a leaf out of Sue's book this week. If only our Government could too...

Have a great week, folks! Kara