NHS Five Year Forward View: flexible, optimistic, but demanding on leaders

Posted by Simon Bird

With just seven months until an election, there was speculation that the NHS chief executive’s Five Year Forward View, might be a bit hollow – low on commitment and very diplomatic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Simon Stevens has acknowledged the achievements of the NHS and laid out clearly the choices facing the current (and next) government in terms of NHS funding.

The Forward View is genuinely exciting in terms of tone, outlook and overall spirit. It is epitomised by a sense of reality, honesty and practicality. It feels like a working plan from a chief executive, rather than a piece that has been driven by PR with ambiguous content.

As I was reading it on my commute, three themes struck me.

1. Flexibility, and the sense of permissiveness that NHS England may be prepared to tolerate. Moving from a cen ...

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