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The Wanless report: engaging the NHS with patient needs?
  1. Tom Smith
  1. Judge Institute of Management Studies, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB21 1AG, UK;

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    Compiled by Tom Smith

    The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown commissioned Derek Wanless—former CEO of Natwest Bank—to undertake a long term review of health up to the year 2022. Derek Wanless' final report relating to the future financial health of the NHS was published in March, timed deliberately to coincide with Gordon Brown's budget. The report draws on extensive consultation with academia and the health service and makes two key points: (1) the NHS needs large and sustained funding increases and (2) this investment must be carefully targeted; the second point was less widely reported. The report places particular emphasis on the need to work in different ways and for the service to engage more effectively with users and the things the public want from the health service. In the NHS of 2020 “patients are at its heart, demanding and receiving safe, high quality treatment, fast access and comfortable accommodation services. It is therefore far ahead of the present health service and a huge challenge to deliver.”

    Workforce issues

    Much of the focus of the Wanless report is on the shortage of professionals, particularly doctors and nurses. It notes the expansion of undergraduate medical places and calls for innovative solutions to the problem.

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