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Technology is all about people

Technology is all about people

18th March 2019

This morning I had the great pleasure of hearing some of the greatest voices and thoughts on UK healthcare policy at the Spectator Health Summit, a summit which if I had to summarise in one very brief sentence would be that 'technology is all about people'. 

It covered how technology can give clinicians 'the gift of time' (something strongly argued for by Dr Topol as well if you recall) and how it allows for better, more personal care for patients. When discussing what the NHS should prioritise during the next 10 years, the gap between what we aspire and realistically can do between now and 2030 was highlighted. As often is said already and was repeated again today, many questions remain unanswered around workforce, certain budgets are yet to be determined in the Spending Review and we are curious to read the upcoming Green Paper on Prevention and long awaited Green Paper on Social Care. As one speaker pointed out, the NHS operates at the margin in the face of a fundamental contradiction; an elaborate vision set out in the Long Term Plan and funding promised, but not enough workforce to deliver.

Other topics were whether technology and AI can revolutionise the NHS, are we getting the balance right between what makes sense financially and what the patient requires? And can the UK lead the way in medical innovation? A discussion touching upon the recurring frustrating issue of how to spread innovation and ideas across the system. To give you a flavour, many (not original) aircraft analogies were made; How do you fly the planes whilst changing the wind? And how does the NHS not get stuck with more pilots than British Airways. 

At the summit I was happy to see that many of the names have also spoken to the APHG recently or are members of our Advisory Board, including our newest member - Richard Murray, Chief Executive of the King's Fund - a very warm welcome to you Richard.

We are currently working to further develop our upcoming programme and this morning's session has certainly sparked some ideas. If you have some thoughts yourself whilst reading this, please do feel free to get in touch. Also, if you would like to read exactly what Matt Hancock said this morning, you can find his full speech here.

More speeches were held by the Health Secretary, last week Thursday he spoke at the Chief Nursing Officer for England's Summit. Also Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer, spoke at this Summit and set out her long term vision for the NHS in 3 priorities: 1) Address workforce shortfalls; 2) Enhance pride in the profession and strengthen perceptions of nursing and midwifery as high-value careers; 3) And, to help nurses and midwifes to influence and lead change at every level across the NHS. 

That same Thursday, Government published its response to the Independent Breast Screening Review recommendations, it accepted all the recommendations. 

Earlier last week, on Tuesday the APHG heard from Prof Dame Sally Davies on the Government's new 20 year vision and 5-year plan to control and contain Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). I am currently writing a (comments non-attributed) summary of the excellent discussion held under the Chatham House Rule, please do get in touch if you are interested in receiving this. 

This week, health will feature in many select committee oral evidence sessions: tomorrow at 10 am SEN and Disabilities as well as a session on the 2019 Spring Statement, at 10.30 a session on immersive and addictive technologies and in the afternoon a session on drugs policy: medicinal cannabis and a wider debate on the UK's progress on the SDGs.

If you would like to know what other health issues will be debated in parliament, please subscribe to our weekly Parliamentary Monitoring Bulletin. 

Have a lovely week. 

Best wishes,

Emelie de Wagt

Health Policy Manager, Policy Connect

020 72028574