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Blog: 'We want it all and we want it now'

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Lynn Young fears continuity of care may be sacrificed at the altar of the 'now' generation

The days are getting longer and the daffodils have bloomed, although still chilly Spring has arrive – hurrah! I am definitely a Spring and Summer girl, rather then Winter and Autumn. But, significant to Spring 2008 in the land of healthcare is the arrival of the Darzi review on the NHS.

Lord Darzi, Health Minister Darzi and Surgeon Darzi is everywhere, and nurses everywhere need to understand what he is about and what the policy drivers are for future healthcare provision.

Lord, Surgeon and Minister Darzi believes the world will be a better place with the addition of polyclinics in certain parts of England, and that we will all be more healthy as a result.

History repeating itself?

Yet again, we have a renewed DH drive to diminish demand on the district general hospital and enhance primary capacity and capability. Apparently the patient will no longer have to wait for blood tests, X-rays and a whole range of other investigations.

We are the 'now' generation, and none of us enjoy waiting. We want it all, we want high quality and we want it now!

Health Ministers are therefore greatly challenged in terms of giving the public what it calls for and must be seen to achieve wholesale improvements before a general election. Health, healthcare and politics are intimately intertwined and will always be so.

There is a huge chunk of new money for PCTs who have put in a bid to develop their very own polyclinic, which has the potential of being an all-singing, all-dancing primary care organisation, with social care and financial benefits support too.

I could become wildly attracted to this development, having been singing in praise of general practice, community health and social care integration for too many years then I like to publicly acknowledge.

Continuity is key

What, we also need to prize though, a gift way beyond diamonds, is the continuity of care currently provided by the very best of today’s general practice.

We lose this precious gem at our health peril, meaning we must strive to retain what we value and is good for us, while looking to new ways in which primary care can be seriously improved.

Personal care is a wonderful thing. We might, just might, have tragedy ahead through our endeavours to modernise and develop ‘now’ type services, while losing sensitive, knowledge-based, well-connected continuity of care.

Many of us believe that when we are seriously ill over a long time, above all we value the care of professionals who know and understand us, who know how to ease our struggles through times of ill health.

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