We believe good health and health care are key to a flourishing society. Our aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. Through sharing what we learn, collaborating with others and building people’s skills and knowledge, we aim to make a difference and contribute to a healthier population.

We’ve outlined for you some of the key areas we will be working on this year in our insider’s guide to the Health Foundation in 2017 (for our grant programmes see 7 funding and fellowship opportunities).

Improving health care

We are in the final stage of selecting a UK university to establish the world’s first Improvement Research Institute and we anticipate it launching later this year. The institute will be a thriving academic centre that develops knowledge about how to improve health and care services and translates this into improvements in practice.

In partnership with NHS England, we are developing an Improvement Analytics Unit (IAU) for the NHS in England. The unit uses robust statistical methods to provide rapid feedback on local initiatives to improve care and efficiency. Two pilot sites have been established and during 2017 we will recruit further sites.

The Q Initiative continues to go from strength to strength. The Q community is bringing together people with improvement expertise across the UK. It is led by the Health Foundation and supported by NHS Improvement. The community already has around 450 members, and will continue to expand, region by region, as opportunities to apply are opened in 2017.

In the spring, we will pilot the first Q Improvement Lab. The Q Labs will provide space – physical space, virtual space and head space – for people to work together on high-priority challenges. They aim to bring people with improvement expertise together to make progress on complex issues to improve care. If the pilot is successful, the long-term aim is to have a small network of labs across the UK.

The Health Foundation continues to combine knowledge and insights from our grant-making with in-house analysis. This year we will focus on two major areas of policy: quality of care and finances. We are continuing to explore quality of care in a range of areas, including through QualityWatch our joint research programme with the Nuffield Trust.

In early 2017 we will publish analysis of the finances and productivity of NHS providers in England. We are also investigating the productivity of acute providers in Wales, as well as the impact of austerity on access to care in England.

We will also disseminate learning from our research projects including: work with the University of Manchester on the evaluation of Greater Manchester devolution and further outputs from our NHS workforce research.

In addition to working with NHS England and NHS Improvement, we are building a range of partnerships, for example in establishing the Improvement Research Institute, working with two other European foundations to deliver a European Health Leaders Network – Sciana, launching in spring 2017 – and the Commonwealth Fund in co-sponsoring the Harkness Fellowship programme.

We will be attending key events, including the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in April. We are also collaborating with the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) on its annual conference in October, which is being held in London. This year’s conference has as its theme, ‘Learning at the system level to improve health care quality and safety’.

Last year we worked with the Empathy Museum to develop a collection of stories from people working in and using health and social care. The result, A Mile in My Shoes, is an immersive experience, using a giant shoe box and 35 pairs of shoes, each with a unique audio story. We are developing an online experience for the project and we will be taking our giant shoe box out to events, so more people can experience it.

In addition to our grant-making programmes, we will be expanding our range of approaches to support spread and scaling of successful innovation. We have commissioned the International Centre for Social Franchising (ICSF) to identify projects that might be suitable to scale-up using social franchising approaches and to provide support to a demonstration programme.

A healthier UK

As an organisation with an overall mission to improve health, we recognise that to achieve this we need to look beyond improving health care and take action that will tackle wider determinants of health, the factors that shape where we live, learn, work and play.

We have been exploring where we can best contribute to this and have identified these overarching aims: action to change the conversation from ‘ill-health as a burden’ to ‘good health as an asset’; promoting national policies that enable everyone to have the chance of a healthy life; and supporting local action to improve health.

We are working with experts – and young people themselves – to explore the factors that have the greatest bearing on young people’s ability to build ‘healthy foundations’ between the ages of 12 and 24. We want to find out about the support young people might need to ensure solid foundations for a healthy life. To find out about our healthy lives work, read the blog by Jo Bibby, our Director of Strategy, highlighting some of our plans for 2017.

We hope you will continue to work with us and join us as we implement our plans in 2017.

Stay up to date and use our resources

For all the latest news and developments from the Health Foundation, including alerts about the latest funding and fellowship opportunities, you can:

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