Health and Social Care
NHS and social care issues are at the centre of the debate about the country’s future. Policy Exchange’s revitalised Health and Social Care Unit will focus on three great healthcare challenges as part of its Build Back Better Programme. First, with more investment going into our NHS, how do we ensure the new money delivers for patients, families and staff? Second, how do we fix our social care system to support our ageing population? Policy Exchange’s report ’21st century social care’ provides an affordable solution that provides dignity and security to those needing care. Finally, how can we move our healthcare system to a more preventative model of care post-COVID through the use of new technology and innovation, and ensure that new facilities and hospitals are fit for purpose for the decades ahead? Healthcare is changing fast; this work programme looks at how our health and social care system can continue to change to meet the needs of the population.
Specialised services typically care for small numbers of patients with rare or complex conditions. They are commonly overlooked in debates around the future of the NHS. This is despite costs growing by over 50% in eight years, and now exceeding £20bn per year. This one part of the NHS now receives more taxpayer funding than providing police services and fighting crime.
General practice has always been the foundation and gateway to the NHS. However the problems are mounting up: a stretched and increasingly burnt-out workforce, no systematic reporting or analysis of activity and demand, fragmentation with secondary care, and confusing and dated contracting and reimbursement mechanisms. The status quo is increasingly unacceptable to both patients and GPs. There is now a consensus that changes are needed, including to the small-scale independent contractor model, to ensure that primary care can thrive in the future.
The waiting list for elective treatment in the NHS in England has reached an unprecedented level. It is likely to become the defining NHS issue as we approach the next general election, and brings a very real human cost as millions endure a long and uncertain wait. So what can be done?
The five finalists of this year’s Wolfson Economics Prize on how to “radically improve” hospitals for patients and staff are announced today.
Since the deadline for primary Submissions in June, the Judging Panel have marked entries from more than 250 organisations representing 15 countries across the world, including submissions from NHS trusts, architectural practices, clinicians and patients, seeking planning and design ideas that could improve the NHS hospitals of the future.
The 2021 Wolfson Economics Prize, launched today in partnership with Policy Exchange, seeks planning and design ideas that will “radically improve” hospital care in the UK and around the world.
The Prize is evidence of a new focus on the long-term improvement in hospital provision in Britain and globally. The UK Government has already announced £3.7 billion of funding towards new hospitals in England for what it calls the “biggest hospital building programme in a generation”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provoked fundamental questions about our health and social care system. Is the current NHS accountability structure the right one for responding to global pandemics? What is the most effective way of protecting and funding those requiring social care? How can we lock in the technological gains from the pandemic? And how should we build hospitals that better serve the needs of the UK population in the 21st century?