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New NHS Alliance for a new NHS world


“Yesterday’s thinking won’t meet tomorrow’s challenges” say leading primary care clinicians and professionals


The vision for New NHS Alliance is laid out today at a gathering of clinical leaders and senior policy makers in central London, to mark the retirement of Dr Michael Dixon, GP and chairman of NHS Alliance for the past 18 years, and chief executive, Rick Stern’s decision to return to a full-time role with The Primary Care Foundation. Both will remain active supporters and advisers.


As Dr Dixon uses his swan song speech to launch a blistering attack on an NHS that “locks out primary care financially”, the New NHS Alliance leadership team recognises primary care as an enabler for powerful change.


New NHS Alliance marks a natural progression from NHS Alliance’s core roots in general practice to a platform that interconnects NHS primary care, and the wider system, with the many determinants and enablers of health creation that lie beyond it.


The leadership team of New NHS Alliance reflects this. Co-chairs, Dr Mark Spencer (GP at the award winning Mount View practice in Fleetwood, Lancashire) and Heather Henry (named top inspirational nurse leader by Nursing Times in 2015), represent GP and nursing perspectives respectively, while Merron Simpson, whose background is in housing, takes on the role of chief executive.


Dr Jonathan Serjeant, GP and clinical director at Brighton & Hove Integrated Care Services, continues as NHS Alliance’s lead on Collaborate, a partnership initiative between NHS Alliance’s Accelerate programme and the National Association of Primary Care’s (NAPC) network of GP federations, NAPO, launched this year to support Vanguards and emerging new models of care.


Dr Mark Spencer, co-chair, New NHS Alliance: “I was drawn to NHS Alliance because of its fresh, solutions-focused approach to patient care and health creation, and am delighted to take on a new role as co-chair. The health service of the future must be nimble and flex to local needs, based on principles of collaboration and integration, and be relationship rather than process driven. NHS Alliance has itself reflected this direction, attracting a constituency that extends far beyond our roots in general practice. We have reached out to housing organisations, the fire and police services, and deep into the community itself, to understand better how to develop a health service that intertwines with, and is interdependent on, our everyday world.


“While general practice still has an important role to play in continuity of care, it is not the beginning and end of primary care. A sustainable NHS depends on cooperation and collaboration between communities and the professions they interact with: nursing, pharmacy, eye and dental care, and physiotherapy; and those sectors outside the NHS that have significant impact on public health.


“Personally, I am passionate about bashing down the walls that constrain good health for all, and this will be a key driver under my leadership.”


Heather Henry, co-chair, New NHS Alliance: “Yesterday’s thinking won’t meet tomorrow’s challenges. I am hugely excited to be leading New NHS Alliance, supporting primary care as an enabler of change, rather than wholly focusing on what needs to be changed. We are a network of clinicians, professionals and organisations who sit inside and outside the NHS. We walk the talk, shaping and sharing real live examples of innovation in communities. Communities themselves are one of our greatest assets, but our thinking is still hidebound by the traditional silos we need to challenge.


“My personal passion is in connecting nurses across the system, especially those working closely with people within their communities. We can effect dramatic change, both to the quality and thinking behind health, and to the NHS balance sheet.”

Merron Simpson, chief executive, New NHS Alliance: “The New NHS Alliance will maintain its core values of improving patient and community health, as well as its immediacy and responsiveness. This will be a place where kites can be flown and ideas can flourish with little constraint. Modern technologies and social media will keep us connected and dynamic, gathering and sharing intelligence, and developing new thinking and doing.

“My background in housing is an important reflection of our future ethos. Progressive healthcare involves preventing illness and promoting wellbeing, and nursing, housing, pharmacy, eye and dental care, and many others beyond the boundaries of the NHS, have roles to play. Primary care remains the bedrock of community-based health and integration across the whole system, with a focus on populations, place and health inequalities, will be a priority.”

Dr Jonathan Serjeant, NHS Alliance lead, Collaborate: “It’s time to let go of the past. The future depends on collaboration. NHS England’s Five Year Forward View potentially holds many of the answers, but won’t be implemented without engaging those front line clinicians seeking a new kind of support. Collaborate is connecting a network of Vanguards, emerging new models of care, and GP federations to share thinking and action, shape leadership models that work in our new world, and provide a unified voice for a primary care focused on patient outcome. Our ongoing interplay and interaction with New NHS Alliance and NAPC is important in helping achieve this.”


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