NEWS COMMENT: Health plan worth trying as we can't go on like this

Heaven knows, this newspaper has been critical enough of the desperate state of the NHS in this area and Queen Alexandra Hospital in particular.

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 18th January 2018, 1:32 pm
Health bosses hope to ease pressure on QA with a new strategy for healthcare in Portsmouth

For years we have been calling for a sea change in healthcare provision across the Portsmouth area – changes which hopefully will eventually and permanently end the various crises at our regional general hospital.

So we give two cheers to the news today that at last something strategic is being done which might make major inroads into the problem.

We may have been critical of the hospital in the past, but we have always tempered our calls for change by saying they can only be truly meaningful if they are backed by hard cash.

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And the same is true of the plans drawn up by the Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group’s primary care commissioning committee.

It is wise enough to put a five-year deadline on its proposals because turning around 70 years of NHS culture is never going to happen at the click of impatient fingers, no matter how much we would like it to.

The aim is to cut dramatically the number of hospital admissions by prevention through education and having many more patients who would be admitted now, treated in the community.

Nothing new there. It’s been a dream for years. But perhaps this proposal might work if enough resources – human, financial and technological – are ploughed into it.

It is refreshing to hear Dr Linda Collie telling it like it is when she says: ‘It is simply not realistic to think that “more of the same” is either sensible, or even possible.’

More GPs seeing more patients, more community nurses treating more frail people in care homes or their own homes. It’s all going to come at a hefty price.

But this plan has got to be worth a shot because one thing is crystal clear – we cannot go on as we are.