Preparing health care workforce for a digital future will require Herculean effort at all levels

Health Foundation response to The Topol Review

11 February 2019

Responding to the publication by Health Education England of The Topol Review, Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, said:

'This report tackles some of the thorniest and most urgent issues facing the NHS – the need to make the NHS fit for the future by adopting new technology, to make the most of the NHS’s valuable data and to harness the digital revolution to improve care for patients.

'However, making this strategy a reality will require Herculean effort from people at all levels of the NHS. The NHS is not yet making the most of existing technologies and data analytics. For example, NHS boards are not yet using relatively simple analytics to understand their existing data to drive improvements in the quality of care.

'The NHS is overstretched and has a shortfall of 100,000 staff. Unless the government and NHS leaders take radical action and prioritise the recruitment of new staff and the development of the existing workforce, the NHS will struggle to sustain current services, let alone take advantage of the benefits new technology can bring.

'Technology has the potential to improve care and drive efficiency in the NHS – by enabling patients to manage their own care, enabling speedier accurate diagnoses and reducing waiting times. But the strategy published today will be little more than warm words unless workforce shortages are addressed and there is much needed investment in training. There will also need to be a cultural shift to enable the NHS to learn from analytics and technological innovation, and to ensure new technology is designed to improve care for those patients with the greatest need.'

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
Acting Senior External Affairs Manager
020 7664 4647

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