Call to Action

NHS-belongs-to-the-people_328x212NHS England is calling on patients, the public and staff to join in a discussion about the future of the NHS so it can plan how best to deliver services, now and in the years ahead.

The NHS needs to be able to deal with a range of challenges such as an ageing population, a rise in the number of people with long-term conditions, lifestyle risk factors in the young and greater public expectations. Combined with rising costs and constrained financial resources, these trends threaten the long-term sustainability of the health service.

There have already been changes to make savings and improve productivity. However, without further changes, a high-quality yet free at the point of use health service will not be available to future generations. Not only will the NHS become financially unsustainable, the safety and quality of patient care will decline.

Here are just some of the things we need to consider:

  • Over 15 million people have a long-term condition and account for over 70% of all NHS spend.
  • People living in the poorest parts of England will, on average, die 7 years earlier than those living in the richest areas, yet it is estimated that only 15-20% of inequalities in mortality rates can be directly influenced by health interventions. This is particularly relevant considering health funding is strongly linked to inequalities, a factor directly affecting funding in North Durham.
  • Nearly 2/3rds of people admitted to hospital are over 65 years old.
  • There are 2 million unplanned admissions per year for people over 65 years, representing 70% of all hospital emergency bed days.
  • The proportion and absolute numbers of older people are expected to grow markedly in the coming decades and particularly in the over 85’s.
  • If the current models of care remain unchanged in England, the gap between funding and spending requirements will grow to £30 Billion by 2020/21 in England.

7588-2-300x200The picture in North Durham

People who live in the North Durham area have significant health challenges and problems. They are also more likely to die sooner than those living in other parts of the country. The main causes of early death include high levels of cancer and diseases of the heart or blood vessels.

With an ageing population, we will also experience greater demand for hospital services and an increase in illnesses related to older people such as stroke, long-term conditions and dementia. The large student population in Durham City results in a demand for sexual health, alcohol and harm reduction services.

Other key challenges facing North Durham include:

  • Poor lifestyle issues such as smoking, alcohol, obesity
  • Economic inequality related to unemployment and low incomes
  • People with disabilities have worse health than those without
  • Children’s health and lifestyles are poorer than elsewhere in the country
  • Environmental factors such as changes in weather and lots of cars and traffic in some areas

Our priorities for 2013/2014

  • Avoiding unplanned hospital admissions
  • Providing care closer to home
  • Investment in urgent and emergency care
  • Improving the health of local people
  • Meeting the needs of the changing age profile of our population

 We will be focussing on a range of service areas:

  • Urgent care
  • Intermediate care8024-2-300x200
  • Palliative and end of life care
  • Dementia
  • Improving access to psychological therapies
  • Cancer
  • Long term conditions
  • Children’s services
  • Diagnostics
  • Mental health
  • Learning disabilities services

Have your say on the future of local health services 

Share your views about our local vision for healthcare or tell us about your experience, please email

Find out more

You can find out more about call to action here