Over the weekend, I read an article from The Independent, a British newspaper, on proposed changes in the delivery of health care throughout the National Health Service (NHS) in Great Britain. A report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) was commissioned and has outlined fifty measures to modernize the care delivery.
Areas of focus are better care of the elderly, better training for physicians, a commitment to patient safety after hours, implementation of more current care delivery practices, the creation of a "buck stops here" culture with senior clinicians taking responsibility for patient welfare, bringing the physicians to the patients versus moving patients around the hospitals to accommodate physicians (really?), adding more nurse specialists similar our nurse practitioners and bringing more care into the home and the community rather than the hospital. I found the article fascinating in that, to some extent, this is where we were with care delivery four or five years ago, with a few exceptions.
The critics of the RCP report are responding with, "show me the money." They are saying that the preceding can only be accomplished with a lot more money being put into the NHS. Maybe, the NHS should take a page out of the United States' approach to health care reform: better care; reduced cost and improved population health. I am not familiar with how much the cost of health care is in Great Britain, but whenever you seek to improve the delivery and quality of care, there is usually a savings associated with such improvements. Such savings can be generated from Lean approaches, Six Sigma initiatives, labor savings, moving care outside the hospital, standardization of practices and the list goes on. It appears that NHS is really trying to address their care crisis and to protect their most vulnerable patients, the very sick and the elderly.