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BIVDA President Angela Douglas attends NHS ConfedExpo

By June 18, 2024No Comments

Last week, BIVDA President Angela Douglas attended the NHS ConfedExpo in Manchester. The annual conference is one of the most important in the calendar and brings together leaders and their teams from across all facets of health and care.

Amanda Pritchard, NHSE CEO, was the keynote speaker. She spoke at length about the exciting developments that had taken place in the NHS over the past year and recapped on the health service’s recent achievements. This included trials for cancer vaccines and the use of cervical cancer sponges. Ms Pritchard was open about the challenges facing the NHS – an ageing population with multiple co-morbidities alongside rising costs – but there are reasons for hope.

The NHS must do things differently to survive, by focusing on innovation, improved use of resources and the estate, and more incentivised delivery.

The three areas of significant opportunity are the workforce, AI and digital and integrated systems, Ms Pritchard claimed.

The next Government will have to implement a credible workforce plan, while improved recruitment and training is needed, alongside clinicians in the correct places. ICBs are already making an impact, and it is unsurprising that some are working well while others require further improvement. However, patients are already feeling the benefit of closer cooperation.

Ms Pritchard outlined in what ways the NHS can deliver the expected quality of care in future. This includes ensuring the NHS has well-trained managers to support an efficient health service, share evidence based and modernisation practices, and make it much easier to innovate and adapt. On the latter, increasing the availability of digital tools and introducing new genomic trials were highlighted.

Lastly, Ms Pritchard stated the need to improve on what we currently have in the health service and curb the social ills – junk food, gambling and unregulated cryptocurrency – which ruin so many lives. However, this is not easy to do.

Afterwards, a talk was held on whose shoulders innovation rests, conducted by the HINs. They emphasised the importance of building relationships locally to connect-up health, improve communication, and understand the local innovation ecosystem. Innovations should be utilised in the context of a local areas needs, while the quality not quantity of innovations must be used as the benchmark.

The ABPI hosted an excellent event examining partnerships with industry. Synergy between the health service and industry has been shown to deliver a myriad of patient benefits, including shorter waiting times and saving resources, and exploring how partnerships can be best delivered is of maximal importance.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, used his speech to present his five priority asks to the incoming government. These were: no major restructuring, commitment to long term funding especially capital, recommit to a long-term workforce plan, implement a social care plan, and prevention investment.

The latter is something which BIVDA have long advocated for and is increasingly identified as crucial to solving the NHS’s challenges by health figures from all major parties. By proactively stopping health problems from developing at root, we can enjoy a more efficient health service while living longer lives in better health.

Ben Kemp