Commenting on the report of the Independent Commission on Whole Person Care, chaired by Sir John Oldham, Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), said:
“We know that our health and care services face big challenges, and so will require big solutions. The Independent Commission on Whole Person Care has set out a number of important recommendations that echo the vision of a patient-focused service outlined in the RCP’s Future Hospital report.
“We welcome the report’s assertion that health and care services must be focused on the person, not the institution. Care should come to the patient, and that means care responsibilities that reach outside the hospital into the wider health community. Hospitals should no longer be seen as bricks and mortar, but instead as a skill base that can be deployed where it best meets patients’ needs.
“Delivering this holistic approach to health and care will require a more ‘generalist’ workforce. We need more doctors skilled in the diagnosis and management of older patients with multiple complex conditions.
“Central to achieving patient-focused care is shared decision making, with patients fully involved in decisions about their care, and an emphasis on supporting self-care, autonomy and health promotion.”
Sir John is right to highlight the importance of public health and the need for a joined-up approach. Housing, education, diet and lifestyle all have an impact on our health, and we must consider all of these factors and more if we are going to support people to stay healthy for longer.