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"Your Big Health Conversation”



"Your Big Health Conversation”

Health leaders start debate about the future of healthcare

NHS leaders are calling on local people to take part in “Your Big Health Conversation”, to discuss the future of the local NHS.

The NHS must change the way it works in future – the ambition is to improve services, at a time when demands on staff are growing, and people’s need for NHS support is growing faster than the resources available to meet that need.

That means that change is inevitable. In broad terms, the direction of travel is clear - more services available close to people’s homes, more joined-up support so patients are not passed from one service to another, stronger efforts to help people stay healthy and independent, a greater emphasis on mental health.

But the details of what those changes will mean for patients are not yet decided, and so the NHS is seeking the views of local residents on some key issues which need to be considered.

For example: How can the NHS help people to live healthier lives, and manage their own health more effectively? How does the health system cope with the growing shortage of GPs? What does a ‘seven-day NHS’ mean in reality? What should be the priorities for improving mental health care?

“Your Big Health Conversation” is being run by the three clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) serving Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, and South Eastern Hampshire. It is intended as the first stage in an ongoing process of involving local people in rethinking the future of health services in the area.

Dr David Chilvers, the chair of the Fareham and Gosport CCG Governing Body, said: “Some changes to our local NHS are inevitable.

“There are tremendous opportunities for the NHS to radically improve services, and to make life better for our patients – we can do more to help people stay healthy, and also to offer better care when they fall ill. But if we are going to achieve that we must make the best possible use of the resources we have.

“Simply having the same staff, working in the same way, in the same places, and somehow expecting them to deliver the greater levels of care we all need is just not realistic. That means we need to have an open, frank conversation with people about what they want and need from the NHS in the future.

Dr Jim Hogan, the clinical chief officer at NHS Portsmouth CCG, said: “There are thousands of frontline staff doing amazing work locally, but I think we all recognise that the local NHS must find new ways of supporting them to give patients an even better service, more consistently. And we have to do this at a time when funding pressures are growing – that is no easy task, and we so need to have a conversation about how the local NHS can make changes, improve care, and live within its means.

“The fundamental principles of NHS care will not change – care free at the point of delivery, given on the basis of need. That is not negotiable. But we do need to hear from local people about the future of the NHS in this area – what they think the priorities should be, what is most important to them.”

Dr Barbara Rushton, the chair of the South Eastern Hampshire CCG governing body, added: “In future, we hope to develop the NHS so that it is available closer to people’s homes, and is far more ‘joined up’ so that patients don’t face the delays and frustrations of being passed from one team to another all the time.

“But if we are going to get the detail right, and develop services which give people the support they need, we will need to hear from as many people as possible. We need to know what people think about the NHS as it works now, and how it could work in the future, so that we can make the right decisions in the months and years ahead.”

The “Your Big Health Conversation” initiative starts today (8 February). The first part of the programme is to ask people broad-based questions about how they see the future of the NHS, and how the NHS could serve them more effectively.

In the coming months it is likely that health leaders will also start more specific conversations as well, asking people’s views about more specific issues – perhaps how a service can be improved or changed, or whether the NHS should fund a particular treatment or product in the same way as it has done in the past.

When those more specific issues are raised the NHS will ask for everyone’s views, but will also make extra efforts to engage with those who may be affected the most.

All three CCGs have more information on their websites, including the link to submit views to “Your Big Health Conversation”.

To find out more visit:, or

Alternatively, you can go directly to the survey asking for your views about the future of the local NHS: