A distinguished clinician and former chief executive of three NHS Foundation Trusts in the UK has been appointed to spearhead the fundamental review of the Island’s healthcare system.
Sir Jonathan Michael, who was knighted in 2005 for services to the NHS, will look at options to provide modern, fit-for-purpose health and social care services that meet the needs of the Isle of Man.
The terms of reference for the independent review have been approved by the Council of Ministers and cover a broad range of issues, including the scope and delivery of services, quality and safety, funding, staffing, technology and sustainability.
Sir Jonathan has been tasked with setting out recommendations to address the current and long-term healthcare challenges facing the Isle of Man.
An interim report will be submitted to Tynwald in January 2019, with the final report presented for discussion at the May 2019 sitting.
Evidence will be gathered from healthcare service users and providers, the Isle of Man Government and the wider public, while consideration will be given to operating models other than the English NHS.
The move to establish a fundamental review was supported by Tynwald Members in January. Treasury Minister Alfred Cannan MHK tabled a motion against the backdrop of rising demand and of the Department of Health and Social Care repeatedly exceeding its annual budget.
Mr Cannan highlighted the need for clear evidence to determine whether the DHSC is adequately funded and if its services are appropriately designed and efficiently delivered.
The intention is for the findings of the 12-month review to inform the future direction of healthcare in the Island. It will build on the Department’s Five-Year Health and Social Care Strategy and the West Midlands Quality Review Service reports.
The Treasury Minister said:
‘Effective and appropriate health and social care services are absolutely essential for the continued wellbeing of the Isle of Man. I believe we have reached a critical juncture. Financial projections point to funding levels becoming unsustainable in the years ahead. Unless positive action is taken there is a concern that healthcare provision may deteriorate or funding for other public services will suffer.’
‘This review is intended to help us put in place a system that is right for the people of the Isle of Man. I am delighted that this important work is being led by Sir Jonathan Michael, a highly respected healthcare professional who will bring a wealth of experience to the role.’
David Ashford MHK, Minister for Health and Social Care, commented:
‘Our approach to the funding and delivery of healthcare services has not fundamentally changed since the 1940s. In common with other countries throughout the world the Isle of Man needs to re-examine and challenge its model in the context of financial sustainability, an ageing population, advances in technology and treatments and increasing public expectations. The management at DHSC is focused on the day-to-day delivery of services, so it makes sense to commission an independent review.’
Sir Jonathan, who has extensive board, managerial and clinical experience in healthcare across both the public and private sectors, will chair the review panel comprising representatives from clinical, patient, political and Isle of Man Government officer groups.
‘The Health Service’s founding principles of care for all, on the basis of need not ability to pay, have stood the test of time. However, pressures on the healthcare systems in many nations are greater than ever before. This review is an opportunity to take stock of what is and isn’t working for the Isle of Man and to set out policy options for the future. It is a significant challenge and one I am looking forward to.’