The new medic for the next 70 years of the NHS

Why we started thenewmedic.com!

This year marks the 70th year anniversary of the NHS. One of the most progressive and inspiring healthcare systems in the world.

In 1948 the NHS was founded to provide healthcare to all, free at the point of use. It was an ambition that at the time seemed implausible, in fact almost impossible. Who was going to pay? Can everyone be cared for whenever and however their require? But 70 years on, the NHS has undoubtedly created a public healthcare system that is aspired by many nearly every nation across the world. Still till to this day the provision of healthcare in the UK is free at the point of use, with quality of care that overall remains at the highest of standards. This is an achievement, I imagine even Bevan himself would hardly quite believe.

Yet with this being said, I think we all recognise the NHS in its current state is in a condition of critical care. The very ambitions it set out to uphold are in direct conflict with the new pressures that the system has to face in modern times. Frankly as great as the system has been. It can’t continue in the way it was first built. Our approach needs to change. Not simply for change sack or because things ‘should’ be different, rather for the very reason of maintaining the core values upon which the NHS was built. Without change we will undoubtedly lose these precious values.

So the question of why is simple - to maintain the core values of the NHS. The questions of what, where and how are much more challenging. But for the team at the new medic the question of Who?, Who should be delivering this change is clear?

The answer - We all need to be involved. We all have a part to play. Whether patient or relative, pharmacist or NHS manager, doctor or radiographer. We all have a part to play as part of designing, enabling and critiquing the change that needs to be made.

And so as the entire new medic team are all medical students, we dared to ask the question what is the role of medical students and junior doctors in all this might and should be!? And this is what we came up with....

In the same way doctors are given the responsibility to lead much of the care for patients within the healthcare system. We argue to enable the next 70 years of the NHS we must also be involved in the taking care of the system as well as our patients. Why, because the structures in place, designed and built by the individuals who lead the system will have as much impact, if not more on our patients as our clinical care. More so now, and into the future than ever before. The changing burdens of disease, the growing elderly population, and the increased complexity of conditions mean we as doctors, or doctors to be, cannot be with and by our patients as often as had been possible back in 1948. There just isn’t enough resources to enable this. And frankly there may never be enough resources to enable this. Quality of care does not need to be compromised, all we require are evolved ways of doing things. Learning how to do more with what we have.

This means thinking about prevention over cure. Self-management over clinican led monitoring. Personalised data-driven care over population evidence-based care. Social determinants of health alongside signs and symptoms. Social and mental health alongside physical health. These are just some of the examples of the shifts in healthcare with which we as medical students and junior doctors need to enable.

So the final question you must be asking is - How? How might we as medical students and doctors enable this?

The answer - We ourselves need to change in order to enable change.
We need to become a new type of medic. We call it simply - the new medic. And so the reason why we decided to start this website. We hope this site helps enable a transition of medics to the new medic. Providing content that inspires and enables the new medic. We, at the new medic - future doctors in the making, have come to a firm conclusion that we as medics need to acquire additional complementary skills and experiences in any of the following disciplines (and this is by no means an exhaustive list):

The arts, management, politics, policy, computer science, data science, architecture, media, filmography, journalism, education, science communication, graphic design, services design, user experience, social justice, accounting, marketing, business development and many many more…

The skills required to excel within these non-medicine disciplines need to also be apart of our plethora of skill sets and experience. For many of us, by our nature, ambition and aptitude there are a few of us with these complementary skills. But imagine if from the first year of medical school till consultant training, we each where given the environment to develop these additional skills sets and experiences.

With these multifacted skills and experiences, the hope is that in becoming this 'new medic' we become equipped, to influence every part of the world that also impacts health and healthcare, directly or indirectly. Changing the healthcare system and elevating healthcare outcomes, in a way a focus on the clinical care alone will never allow.

For us, the opportunity to complement these skills with our medical degree and training is where the change we wish to see within the NHS really begins to happen. This complementary skills approach is not just becoming important for medics today but also every other professional. From engineers to teachers, we are all increasingly being required to own complementary experiences and skills in order to deal with the increasingly complex and multifaceted challenges of today.

We believe this is no more true than in medicine. No other subject is more complex and multifaceted than human beings. Yet arguable, we are furthest behind when it comes to thinking about adopting these complementary skills and experiences.

The team at the New Medic are still early in our careers along this journey of hopefully become the new medic we propose here. And neither do I expect everyone to believe or accept some of the thoughts expressed here. But we believe even if a small percentage of medics who read this and resonate with this concept are inspired to change and enable change, then our job is done.

It only requires a few to inspire many.

And so we hope this website - thenewmedic.com. Goes some way to inspiring those few. Those few who will inspire the many, change the NHS, and maintain the values of freedom of access to quality healthcare for the next 70 years of the NHS.

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Ivan Beckley

Ivan Beckley

UCL Medical Student currently completing a UCL MSc in Health Data Science. Determined to build a positive future for healthcare.

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