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A new strategy for 2023–25 The Health Foundation is uniquely placed to address the challenging context of the years ahead and make a real difference to health and care for the long term

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These are turbulent times. There are unprecedented pressures on health and care services and widening health inequalities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The volatile economic situation is jeopardising the public services so vital to the nation’s health. The increasingly urgent climate crisis is also looming large.

Undercurrents of uncertainty will continue to characterise the years ahead. The scale of the challenge is clear and we’re ready to respond to it.

Our priorities for 2023–25 

We are ambitious about the impact we can have over the next 3 years. Over this next strategic period, three core priorities will guide our work.

Health is our most precious asset. It is shaped by the work we do, the income we earn, the education we receive and the places and communities we live in. The context of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and rising demand for services makes improving – or even sustaining – healthy life expectancy a real challenge. 

Improving health and reducing inequalities requires a whole-society approach – we can’t do this alone. Our ambition is to create more favourable conditions that enable others to act. We want decision makers across all parts of society to understand and fulfil their potential contribution to building a healthy nation.

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Innovation and improvement are more important than ever if we’re going to ensure that health and care services meet people’s needs now and in the future. By ‘radical innovation and improvement’ we mean the deep-seated and far-reaching shifts needed in health and care over the coming decade, and the application of new and cutting-edge methods and approaches to drive change in services. 

We want to give policymakers, system leaders, service providers, health care staff, service users and the public the insights, practical resources and opportunities needed to support these changes.

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Policy decisions on health and social care are often only loosely related to evidence or rigorous analysis, sometimes fail to incorporate a long-term health perspective, and can have complex effects that aren’t well understood. We’re here to change that. 

We know the context is challenging and the pressures are unprecedented. That’s why we want to see policy decisions on health and social care informed by the best available evidence and analysis, to improve our health and care system now and for the future.  

We will focus on national policies affecting the NHS and social care in the UK, as well as how national policies are interpreted and implemented in different local contexts, such as in integrated care systems or local authority areas.

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Our approach 

The Health Foundation is uniquely placed to address the challenging context and make a real difference to health and care for the long term. Our endowment stands at more than £1bn, giving us ambition, independence and stability. 

 We play our part in four ways. 

  • We build evidence by commissioning, conducting and mobilising the highest quality research and analysis, using the latest innovations in data analytics and learning from other countries.  

  • We shape policy and practice by influencing national and local government, and working with stakeholders including health and care organisations, other public services, investors, businesses and communities. 

  • We build skills, knowledge and capability by supporting people and organisations, including through partnerships, practitioner communities, fellowship programmes, networks and events. 

  • We act as a catalyst for change by promoting improvements to front-line care, spreading innovation and supporting new initiatives where a large-scale, long-term focus is needed to make a difference. 

Our multi-faceted approach is what sets us apart and defines our distinctive contribution. But no single organisation can achieve this mission alone. Everyone has a stake and a part to play in improving our health. We will continue to work collaboratively with partners to amplify our impact and build capability together.

This strategy is an evolution aimed at strengthening the knowledge, capability, productive partnerships, reputation and trust that we’ve successfully built over recent years.
Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive

Evolving how we work in a changing world

As well as adapting and improving what we do, we’re also concentrating on how we do it.

Over the next 3 years we will strengthen our operating model, delivering an improvement programme to ensure that our internal workings can best support effective delivery of our goals.

We will also continue to develop our thinking and practice on the ways we can have a positive impact on our mission through how we work, particularly through the following three cross-cutting themes.

We are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion as an employer, a funder, and in our contributions to health and care policy and practice in the UK. This is a vital aspect of our efforts to build a healthy society. We will:

  • conduct research and policy analysis on inequalities in society, health and care – where they are, who experiences them, and what the solutions might be
  • leverage our role as a funder to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion are considered in the programmes and research we support
  • seek to broaden the diversity of the people who work here and become a more inclusive employer by ensuring that our organisational culture is fair, values diversity and harnesses the abilities of all our people.

We’re developing how we engage and involve people – individuals and communities – in what we do. We want to embed public participation more consistently and more widely across our work, to realise the benefit of multiple and diverse perspectives. We believe this collaboration will help us achieve greater impact together, and will enable us to be more relevant and responsive to people in the UK.

Climate change is the greatest threat to global human health, and we have a responsibility to act. We are committed to our environmental sustainability work, through both our research and analysis and through our grant programmes.

We are also taking steps to reduce our own environmental footprint, by considering how we manage our workplace and our events, by developing a responsible investment approach, and committing to making our endowment net zero by 2035 (as well as halving the carbon emissions of our investments by 2028).

Read our full strategic plan 2023–25 

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