Happy New Year to you all - and thank you to the many people who worked right through Christmas and the New Year, as ever doing a brilliant job for patients.
A & E departments were busy, but across the country we hit the target for the 2 final weeks of the year. Ambulance services reacted quickly to problems caused by flooding and power failure - as well as turning up within 3 minutes when part of the inside of the Apollo Theatre collapsed in London and then giving emergency treatment to 76 people on site.
I want to mention 1 important theme for this year, which is to find ways to treat patients more holistically.
An example is named GPs for the over 75s, which will be rolled out from April. This is designed to make sure that our most frail and vulnerable older people have a doctor responsible for proactive care in the community - and someone to whom care can be transferred when they are discharged from hospital.
Another is to encourage hospitals to put the name of responsible consultants and nurses above every bed. We used to do this in the NHS, but most hospitals stopped with the arrival of multi-disciplinary teams. Of course these teams are very important, but we also know that sometimes patients can feel they are pushed from pillar to post inside a hospital without anyone taking overall charge.
So this year I hope all hospitals will consider the best way to make sure there is someone senior taking responsibility for a patient’s whole stay in a hospital - not just for solving individual medical problems and then passing them on to another team. Everywhere will have different approaches to achieving this, so please work together with the leadership in your Trust to find the best solution for your patients.
With best wishes