This week’s long-awaited Spending Review delivered £1bn of the £3-5bn thought requested by NHS England towards health technology. It is not quite the early Christmas present that we were after, but it’s certainly not a gift horse to look in the mouth.
The government has backed the Five Year Forward View with the front-loaded investment it asked for. So whilst analysts will point to lean times in the years to come as investment levels fall, and to the impact that changes to public health and social care funding will have, the immediate outlook appears good.
The healthcare technology industry shows time and again that it has the ability to help the NHS and social care save lives, improve efficiency, integrate care and save money. These are all themes that came out strongly in the Spending Review. Suppliers would say: “We can do that.”
What suppliers might also like to think about is what else they can do to support the NHS.
Can they show NHS trusts that the return for an initial investment can be realised in years two and three, when the level of central investment falls? Even better, can they save them money now, especially on staffing, targeted outcomes and better, safer care?
Can they support with education and training to help plug the gaps that may well come if less money goes to Health Education England?
Can they help with the promotion of public health, even if it is as simple as funding a website or a leaflet that can help people understand more about conditions and services?
And can they work in a world with reduced levels of social care support, and where technology can help people stay independent for longer?
Having worked in the field for many years, I think I know the answer. Health technology innovators can do that. Let us help the NHS with the technology, support and ideas that demonstrate our shared passion for the delivery of outstanding care.