NHS must encourage ‘whole person care’

Clinical excellence awards should be used to incentive consultants to provide whole person care, recommends a report commissioned by the Labour party.

“At the moment doctors are better rewarded for treating patients as if they have individual parts of diseases and not the whole person.

“This encourages doctors to stay within the old model of care and not treat the whole person,” says the document produced by the Independent Commission on Whole Person Care.

Chaired by Sir John Oldham, a GP and former Department of Health national director, the report is expected to influence Labour proposals for health and care in the run up to the 2015 general election.

The Commission found that while there is agreement regarding the necessity to change towards coordinated care, care today remains fragmented and episodic and does not meet the needs of patients.

The people who now need the most care are older people with long term conditions, who will need personalised, co-ordinated care for the rest of their lives.

The Commission argues for a “radical new approach” over the next Parliament, to re-work the health and social care system to meet these needs. “Behaviours will have to undergo radical change, with the needs of one person being addressed by health and social care staff acting as one team, working for organisations that in turn behave as one system,” it says.