The NHS at 70: Reform ideas for the future

To mark the NHS’s 70th birthday, a new Reform video argues that the NHS is at “a defining moment” which will “flip healthcare on its head”. This film describes how this will not only result in a new way of providing care but also a new type of patient.

In her speech on the NHS long-term plan last month, the Prime Minister focused on the £20 billion annual boost that she promised to the Health Service. Reform thinks that bold, new reform ideas will be even more important to the future of the Service than extra money.

New provision of care

The technology revolution happening in the health service means it can deliver on its long-held ambition to shift care out-of-hospital and into the community. As Merav Dover states, this would be “a complete game changer” for the NHS.

Maxine Mackintosh argues that local people, rather than local hospitals, will become “the epicentre” of a new health service. The wealth of data available on patients and places will become the main currency of the Health Service. Dr Philip Xiu suggests that a technology like blockchain can link up the different databases held by hospitals, GPs and social care.

Online therapies and new apps will enable people to stay at home to receive healthcare. Norman Lamb MP argues that the NHS should take advantage of its unique cradle-to-grave dataset to shift from a “repair” to a “prevent” service. Rabia Khan highlights that genomic data can make this possible. Genome data will help people understand their likelihood of developing a disease and modify behaviour accordingly.

This video sets out some new reform ideas that could completely overhaul how care has traditionally been delivered

New patients

As Dr Indra Joshi describes, wearables and real-time data provide patients with a wealth of information about their health. If used responsibly, Dr Rupert Dunbar Rees says this data should enable people to live healthier lives, for much longer.

Dr Murray Ellender describes how technology can “help meet the needs of the modern patient.” Online GP appointments can move the NHS away from the traditional 9-5 service, instead giving patients more flexibility on how and when they receive care. As Professor Clare Gerada argues this will also help the NHS workforce use their time most effectively.

Innovative payment mechanisms, like personal budgets, can also enable patients to choose the type of healthcare they want to receive.

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Maisie Borrows, Senior Researcher at Reform, says “This video sets out some new reform ideas that could completely overhaul how care has traditionally been delivered. As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, Reform hopes this video will inform the policy debate and lay out some practical next steps for NHS transformation.”

The Reform team would like to give special thanks to the people below for giving up their time to be interviewed for this video:

  • Professor Clare Gerada, GP Partner at the Hurley Group
  • Professor Carol Propper CBE, Professor of Economics, Imperial College Business School
  • Rt Hon Norman Lamb MP, Chair of the Science and Technology Committee
  • Rabia Khan, Exploratory Scientist
  • Maxine Mackintosh, PHD student and Co-founder One Healthtech
  • Dr Murray Ellender, Co-Founder, eConsult
  • Dr Philip Xiu, Chief Medical Officer, Medicalchain
  • Dr Rupert Dunbar-Rees, Founder/CEO, Outcomes Based Healthcare
  • Merav Dover, Chief Transformation Officer, North West London NHS
  • Dr Indra Joshi, Digital Health and AI Clinical Lead, NHS England
  • Andrew Haldenby, Director, Reform