Peers: Government needs a credible NHS innovation strategy - and should penalise those that don’t engage

Written by Rebecca Hill on 5 April 2017 in News
News

Damning House of Lords report on long-term sustainability of the NHS calls for ‘strong leadership and a radical culture shift’ to incentivise innovation and improve public engagement over use of patient data

Training and leadership are needed to shift NHS culture around tech - Photo credit: Flickr, Pete, public domain.

The House of Lords Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS has said that there is a “worrying absence of a credible strategy” to encourage large-scale use of innovative technologies across the health service.

The committee’s report The Long-term Sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care, published today (5 April), slammed the “short sightedness” of successive governments for failing to properly plan “beyond the next few years”.

It recommended that a new body independent of government, the Office for Health and Care Sustainability, be established to oversee long-term planning, as well as calling for the government to “recognise the NHS will need more money”.

Among its criticisms is that the government lacks an adequate strategy for encouraging health care providers to innovate and make the most of the technology and data available to them.

The peers said that, if the NHS was to redress the balance, it would need “strong leadership and a radical culture shift”, with rewards and penalties used to enforce the message that innovation was a priority.


Related content

The King’s Fund calls for clarity on funding for fully-digital NHS
NHS to invest in digital skills as Wachter review recommends phased digitisation


“It is not clear who is ultimately responsible for driving innovation and ensuring consistency in the assessment and the adoption of new technological approaches,” the peers said.

“The government should make it clear that the adoption of innovation and technology, after appropriate appraisal, across the NHS is a priority and it should decide who is ultimately responsible for driving this overall agenda.”

They recommended that the government identify the bodies that are “falling behind” on this agenda and “make it clear that there will be funding and service delivery consequences for those who repeatedly fail to engage”.

This, it said, could involve “relocating services to places that prove to be more technologically innovative”.

However, it also noted that there were some enthusiastic proponents within the healthcare sector, but that they were being held back by the lack of standardised systems or difficulties in getting new technologies working with existing systems.

“We desperately need to embrace technology. Healthcare professionals love technology generally; it is just getting standardised, joined-up systems that we can use across the board,” Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, told the committee.

“We want to be able to communicate with each other efficiently and effectively. It needs resource to do that, because IT will help us enormously with our jobs. When I hear that midwives are spending 50% of their time on admin tasks, we know that if we had better IT systems that could be reduced massively.”

The peers also called on the government to provide appropriate training for staff within the NHS to help with the uptake of new technology, and emphasised that “the development of strong leaders to support this agenda within the NHS will be critical to its success”.

It said that the testing and adoption of new health technologies “should be formally integrated into medical and non-medical NHS leadership, education and training at all levels”.

In addition, the peers said that NHS England needed to develop a system to “identify and financially reward organisations and leaders who are instrumental in driving the much needed change in levels of productivity, the uptake of innovation, the effective use of data and the adoption of new technologies”.

‘Learn lessons from Care.data’

The committee also looked at the NHS’ use of data, saying that the benefits of data-sharing were “obvious”, and that the high-profile failure of the patient information sharing scheme Care.data - scrapped last summer - was a “missed opportunity”.

The failure of the scheme - which the chief executive of the civil service John Manzoni recently branded a “misstep” that had held the sector back - is an example of the “inevitable consequences of failing to grapple with important issues relating to personal privacy”, the committee said.

“NHS Digital and all those responsible for data sharing in the NHS should seek to engage the public effectively in advance of any future large-scale sharing of personal data,” the peers said.

“Public engagement on data sharing needs to become a priority at a local level for staff in hospitals and the community, and not be left to remote national bodies.”

NHS England last year announced a series of measures that aimed to encourage healthcare innovation, following the recommendations from the Wachter review that called for a phased approach to innovation in the NHS.

These included a set of digital exemplars that would be used to demonstrate how other organisations in the NHS could make the best use of technology. The chosen NHS Trusts, which each receive £10m, were announced last week in NHS England’s update to its Five Year Forward Plan.

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Comments

Prof.Richard Dealtry (not verified)

Submitted on 5 April, 2017 - 13:50
What is needed is a real time corporate university process strategy that brings people together rather than outdated management packages. Info at g-acua.org Richard

Related Articles

Why the NHS needs to ‘take the lead’ on sharing data with the private sector
11 December 2018

A study from Reform finds a haphazard patchwork of data-sharing being led at a local level. The think tank’s director of research Eleonora Harwich tells PublicTechnology why a national...

Government expands Google partnership for SME export drive
28 November 2018

Department for International Trade to work with internet giant to help small businesses cash in on overseas opportunities

Full-fibre primary schools and the Mancunian skills gap – 10 tech announcements you may have missed in the Budget
31 October 2018

Although big-ticket technology announcements were largely absent from the chancellor’s speech, the Budget contained a number of initiatives and investments in digital and data

The third sector must play a key role in ‘social digital government’
24 October 2018

Government needs to make sure it is integrating resources from different places in support of common goals, according to Neil McEvoy of Digital Scotland

 

Related Sponsored Articles

How the Internet of Things is revolutionising business
26 November 2018

BT thinks The Internet of Things is about to undergo a revolution. Over the past two decades, we've seen IoT tech evolve from a possibility, to a novelty, to an established tool that plays a vital...

Quantum cryptography and the future of security
19 November 2018

Quantum computers will soon make some of our strongest encryption useless. And that's where quantum cryptography comes in

Make security integral to your business
5 November 2018

BT knows that digital security isn't just about technology. It's about the partnerships, intelligence and expertise you need to stay one step ahead in the security race.