Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier
The essay will start by looking at the brief history, before and after the creation of NHS in 1948. A white paper “Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier” (DOH 2004) in its entirety will be used to critically analyse health policies that have direct relevance upon current practices. National Service Framework (NSF) which provides national standards to reduce variations in care (Dimond, 2008) will be used to measure the standard and expected targets sets by the white paper. The report will also look at the appliance of the principles of integrated governance which is used by NHS to measure the quality of services and high standards of health care provision. The report will conclusively analyze the white paper in relation to the changing emphasis in risk management, from a person-centred to a system-approach.
Prior to the formation of NHS in 1948, healthcare was regarded as a luxury that could be afforded by few people. Although charges were introduced at some point, but did little to rescue the growing health needs (Rees 2001) The unmet Public health demands have always been the main concern of the ruling governments, which was the drive behind the formation of NHS in 1948. The NHS was born out of desire to establish a free health care that would be available to all at the point of delivery and funded purely by taxpayers (Digby 1999) This concept has been widely commended, however, the NHS has become a victim of its own success due to the huge healthcare demands that regularly outweighs the available resources. The statement from Aneurin Bevan “We shall never have all we need” (Bevan, 1958 cited in Tippett, 2004, p.111) signifies that expectations would always exceed capacity and for this reason, NHS will continue to introduce guidelines, new commissions and guidance to meet the 21st century demands.
A health policy offers a framework to evaluate performance, and help to bring together professionals and other sectors around health problems and to legitimize actions, especially when it is part of a sensible planning to change (WHO 1989). The white paper “Choosing Health: making healthier choices easier” (DOH 2004) provides a unique opportunity for building awareness around health issues and allows citizens to voice their opinion. One of the main underpinning principles identified by the white paper is reducing obesity, improving diet nutrition and well being of people with mental health problems. One of the policies recommended to address the issue of nutrition includes the five a day program and the school fruit and vegetable scheme (DoH, 2004a). The aim is to raise the public’s awareness of healthy eating through the adequate consumption of fruits and vegetables. In 2006, front of pack signpost food labelling was also proposed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), to encourage and increase good dietary intake through the provision of clear, easy to read and understand information concerning the nutritional content of food. Another recommendation by FSA is the traffic light system used to denote low medium and high levels of fat, saturated fat, sugars and salt in food (FSA, 2007). The direct impact upon practice from the white paper is the birth of 'Pathways to Work' programme, which provides support for people with mental health problems to return to work. This is a strategy to identify and remove barriers that may prevent people with mental health problems returning to work. The action will challenge the stigma often associated with mental health problems. The ‘Pathways to Work’ pilots, include the Condition Management Programmes (CMP) which is regarded a hugely successful partnership between the NHS, Jobcentre Plus and the private and voluntary sectors. The programmes are commissioned by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) designed and delivered to meet the identified needs of the individual and the district. The results to date show considerable...
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