As a change from our usual programme of speakers, at the last members’ meeting Health Tech Alliance Chair, Dame Barbara Hakin spoke to members about the difficulties of the NHS system and her thoughts on the Long Term Plan, drawing on her forty-year career as a GP, Chief of Bradford Trust and Deputy Chief Executive of NHS England (NHSE).
Dame Barbara gave members an invaluable overview of the NHS structure and the flow of money through the system and stressed the importance of industry understanding such a vast and complex system in order to successfully navigate it. She discussed with members the challenges that NHSE typically faced in planning to use funds in advance, requiring the system to inevitably prioritise innovations that provide short-term cost savings and benefits.
On the recently published 10-Year Long Term Plan, Dame Barbara noted that the plan signalled ‘evolution, not revolution’, and followed the direction of travel we have now seen from the NHS for some time. She also discussed with members some of her predictions for the future of healthcare, based on the Plan’s announcements. Encouragingly, she believed there was a clear direction of travel for the medical technology industry and welcomed the new HealthTech funding mandate and pledge to simplify national innovation programmes and create a simpler system for HealthTech.
Lastly, the membership and Dame Barbara looked ahead at upcoming policy announcements and changes to the system, including the Spending Review and Social Care Green paper, as well as the future of the system and the impact of Integrated Care Systems on technology and innovation. With a commitment to innovation evident from both the NHS, and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the Alliance look forward to working collaboratively with the health service to ensure vitally important innovations can improve patient outcomes, ease pressures on clinicians and enable better self-care to keep people out of hospitals.