Thursday, 4 October 2007

Our NHS our future

The interim report on the NHS written by Lord Darzi was published at 11.30 this morning – there were a lot of people involved in drafting the document. Many discussions about the placement of commas but Ara Darzi himself was up late and up again early doing much of the writing himself. It’s a high level synthesis of the views of staff, patients and the public of where we are now: a reiteration of our core principles and, to borrow a phrase from Sir Derek Wanless, it sets out a vision for “full engagement”.

The letter to the Prime Minister sets out some of his personal views. Reading it will give you some insight into Lord Darzi’s values and beliefs.

Guess what I did when I got the final draft? No prizes; a word search on kidneys and renal!

The report is of course about generic issues and the kidney care pathway spans all of the workstreams that are being set up for the next stage of the review – maternity to end of life care. Primary care services, safer hospitals – for that read less healthcare associated infection and speedier innovation, are the main themes picked up by the press but the substance is in the detail of the next steps.

The Kings Fund Wanless report provided a clear assessment of how far we have come since the NHS Plan was launched in 2000. It demonstrates that the system isn’t fully engaged, progress has been patchy – coronary heart disease and cancer services are much improved but kidney services amongst others still lag a long way behind our European counterparts.

In many ways, I think how kidney services develop will be a real test of the reform. A service that needs to be developed almost from scratch in primary care, whose outcomes are so dependant on integration of care and a specialist service that grows year on year by 6-8% would challenge any system.

The next stage of the review gives everyone in the kidney community the opportunity to get involved in taking up these challenges. Big changes are afoot. Find out more and contribute at