Last Monday’s (July 13) Panorama special reported from the frontline of the battle to transform the NHS – an NHS  facing a perfect storm, caught between huge increases in demand and the prospect of a massive £30 billion deficit. “Without revolutionary change the NHS as we know it will become unsustainable.”

Filmed over six months in Liverpool, it told the moving stories of patients living in one of the unhealthiest areas in Britain, whose 'long-term' and 'lifestyle' conditions threaten to overwhelm the NHS. And also of the healthcare professionals trying to save them while at the same time fighting to fundamentally change the way their organisation works.”

LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL and Liverpool CCG were approached by the programme maker to get involved in this Panorama special which explores the impact of the millions of people living with long-term conditions, described as “the healthcare equivalent of climate change”. The programme explored the reasons for this increase; ageing population and lifestyle factors - poor diet, smoking, drinking, lack of exercise, poverty and social isolation.  


It linked these issues to the financial challenges the NHS and Liverpool City Council face and the urgent need to respond if they are to remain sustainable in the long term. This message aligns strongly with the contents of the NHS Five year Forward View. Liverpool City Council has lost 58 percent of its funding since 2010 and the budget for adult social care has been reduced by £100 million per year, meaning it is imperative that there are fundamental changes to the way in which services are delivered.

By way of context, the programme referenced the Health Commission set up by the mayor which brought together partners and helped pave the way for change. This message aligns strongly with the contents of the NHS Five year Forward View. The programme also raises issues around personal responsibility and empowerment as drivers for improving health, as well as the importance of early intervention. This was an observational film which aimed to give a human face to these issues. It represented the personal experiences of people and the doctors and health care professionals who look after them.

The filmmakers wanted to focus on Liverpool to tell this story, as the city has some of the worst health outcomes and therefore the greatest challenges in driving change. Liverpool is taking a proactive stance with Healthy Liverpool, a system-wide programme to transform health and services.

Healthy Liverpool has two fundamental ambitions; to increase the life expectancy of the people of Liverpool and to improve the quality of their lives. The film also followed a small number of GPs in their role as clinicians and as clinical commissioners, shaping an ambitious whole-system programme for transformation.

The film showed how health and social care partners are already doing things differently, including the newly commissioned Frailty Unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital which brings together acute, community and social care services around the patient, and the community support for dementia patients and carers, provided from recently opened hubs across the community.

The request to be involved in this film was carefully considered by the CCG Governing Body and Liverpool City Council, and on balance it was agreed that this represented a good opportunity to demonstrate how clinical commissioners, providers and the local authority are working hard together to rebalance the city’s healthcare system, through the Healthy Liverpool programme; with greater focus on prevention, proactive care in community settings and integrated delivery across providers, and with patients actively involved in their care.

Liverpool CCG, Liverpool City Council and other contributors have worked closely with the filmmakers, building a mutual trust to ensure that this story accurately represented the challenges we face and our ambitious plans for transformation. Our intention was to ensure that the people of Liverpool and the city were represented positively and with dignity. We are confident that the film has adhered to these values.

Samih Kalakeche
Director of Adult Services and Health
Liverpool City Council Department of Adult Social Services
ADASS Equalities and Diversity Lead