Public Health

07.03.19

Health, Social Care and Wellbeing at EvoNorth 2019

Under the banner of the Northern Powerhouse, health and social care has been one of the most prevalent themes for the improvement and sustainability of public health in the North. Following the landmark announcement of the NHS Long-Term Plan in January, key topics of discussion including the integration of health and social care, early detection and prevention, and a surge in the use and adaptation of technology were all points of debate during this year’s EvoNorth 2019.

Key leaders and decision-makers from the healthcare industry attended EvoNorth to listen to expert panellists and speakers over the two days, including Alex Heritage, chief executive of the NHS Transformation Unit; and Dr Hakim Yadi, chief executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance.

The first day also played host to a leaders debate for health, social care, and wellbeing sponsored by Virgin, including: James Sumner, chief officer at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust; Dr Tracey Vell MBE, associate lead for primary and community care at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership; Professor Paul Johnstone, regional director for the north at Public Health England (PHE); and Keith Smith, business development manager at Virgin Media Business. Here are some of the key highlights from the event!

‘Once in a lifetime opportunity’ to transform NHS’s use of tech

The chief officer of one of the UK’s leading NHS trusts has said more must still be done to revolutionise the technology used in health facilities around the country. James Sumner, chief officer at Salford Royal NHS FT, said during the panel discussion that despite working for one of the most technologically-advanced healthcare providers in the UK, he still experiences more advanced technology at home than he does in his wards.

Paul Johnstone, regional director for the north of PHE, echoed this sentiment, arguing the long-term plan was a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”:

The staunch health inequalities of the Northern Powerhouse

CEO of the NHS Transformation Unit Alex Heritage gave some shocking statistics on the sheer impact of the North-South divide during his speech on the Monday morning. Mentioning a Transformation Unit report on the North, Alex found that a massive 30% of the £4 per head gap on productivity between the Northern Powerhouse and the rest of the United Kingdom was due to ill health.

“We’re here to take this seriously. £13.2bn could be saved in productivity by balancing health inequalities in the North. Depending where, what day, and what time you access health services, you can get worse quality of care. That doesn’t sound like a modern health system,” Alex said.

He added: “We have to think differently. I can guarantee there is not a community hub, hospital or NHS ward that doesn’t need change. And I can guarantee that the majority of those working at those places have no hand in that change.”

Taking a patient-based focus

Chief executive of the Northern Health Science Alliance Dr Hakim Yadi honed in on the challenge the NHS is facing in the North; which is that health providers are trying to move “nimbly” in a big environment. “We need to focus on the patient in the Northern Powerhouse,” he added. Dr Yadi noted that the NHSA is bringing together key educational and health groups together to help realise this potential and focus on the patient.

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