What does Darzi mean for innovation?8th October 2008
Mark Johnson, managing director of specialist public services law firm the Projects Partnership, examines what Darzi means for NHS innovation.
While Lord Darzi’s review places quality at the heart of the NHS, this can only be achieved through new forms of partnership working between the public, private and third sectors.
There are exciting incentives within the review for healthcare providers, which will encourage new service models.
The shift of focus towards disease prevention may see primary care trusts form new partnerships with the private and voluntary sectors; GPs and pharmacies can tackle the challenges of obesity, alcohol, smoking, drugs, sexual health and mental health through convenient community-based services; while the pledge to reinvigorate practice-based commissioning will give greater freedoms and support to high-performing GP practices to develop new services.
This will see strategic health authorities obliged to promote innovation.
There will be more integrated care, with staff and clinicians given the opportunity to set up independent organisations, further facilitated now that the NHS pension stumbling block has been overcome.
Regional investment funds will foster good ideas, with partnerships between clinicians, universities and businesses and see funding formulas and contract payments increasingly linked to quality outcomes.
There will be new burdens, though, such as the need to capture data to inform patient choice, the right to medical records and drugs and treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
Darzi will undoubtedly offer significant challenges. But within them is a real opportunity for “innovation and initiative to triumph.”
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