We believe good health and health care are key to a flourishing society. 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 UK population.

Following publication of our new three-year strategic plan at the end of last year, here are some highlights from the work we’ve got planned for 2019. You can read more about the strategic direction and aims behind these plans in our chief executive Dr Jennifer Dixon’s blog this month, and more about specific opportunities to apply for our grant and fellowship programmes during 2019

Healthy lives for all

Good health is important for us as individuals and for the country – for our society and our economy. The greatest influences on our health and wellbeing are factors such as whether we live in poverty or not; our education and employment opportunities; our housing; our social networks; where we live and the extent it facilitates exercise, a good diet and social connection. 

In 2019, we’ll call for greater investment and cross-government action to address these social determinants. We’ll launch findings from our research exploring the recent slowdown in life expectancy, as well as working on an analysis of health inequalities, culminating in the 10-year anniversary of the Marmot review in 2020.

It’s hard to find a sector that doesn’t have a bearing on our health. So, in 2019 we’ll be mobilising action on the social determinants across sectors, supporting public health professionals to work with partners from outside the traditional public health community in innovative ways. We’ll be supporting leadership development in public health, and building new partnerships to catalyse wider, more purposeful action – including a grant-giving programme with the Local Government Association and our major new initiative, the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health.

We’ll also start the next phase of our work with FrameWorks Institute to find effective new ways to communicate about the social determinants, and change the conversation on health.

Building on the extensive engagement work we’ve done as part of our Young people’s future health inquiry since 2017, the final stage of this work in 2019 will see us developing policy recommendations for national and local government and building clarity on a national level about the action needed to improve young people’s future health. 

Understanding the quality of health and care

2019 will see us develop deeper insights into quality issues surrounding health and care. We’ll be undertaking research and analysing national policies and trends, using novel approaches to data analytics, and linking data from different providers of health and care services to better understand and improve care quality. 

As part of this we’ll start work to develop our Networked Data Lab, an ambitious project to build a network of partners across the UK who have linked patient data across primary care, secondary care and other health and care services. Together with these partners, we will work to develop powerful new insights to inform local and national decision makers.

As well as continuing to develop the Improvement Analytics Unit (a partnership with NHS England), we’ll also be developing a new data lab in conjunction with NICE, which will evaluate the effectiveness of high profile interventions within the health service. 

Through our grants and the funding support we provide to external networks, we’ll continue to help organisations within the NHS use data to improve the quality of care locally. 

Supporting health care improvement

In recent years, the Health Foundation has made some bold investments in large-scale initiatives to support improvement, in particular Q and The Healthcare Improvement Studies (THIS) Institute

2019 will see the first fully operational year of THIS Institute, with a research programme underway, and new PhD, Post-Doctorate and Senior fellowships beginning. Q also continues to grow and develop. A new round of Q Exchange funding will encourage shared learning and enable improvements in health and care at a much greater scale, while Q Lab is currently partnering with Mind to push forward progress on how we can care better for people with mental health issues and persistent pain.

We will continue our work to support health care improvement on the front line, with a new award programme for work with patient and clinical communities launching this year, and new work to investigate the NHS’s role in prevention. 

We’ll continue to share learning from our programmes including Exploring Social Franchising, Flow Coaching Academy, Innovating for Improvement, and Scaling up Improvement. And we’re looking forward to developing a new programme during 2019 that will support improvement in health care.

Contributing to the future sustainability of health and social care

With funding and workforce pressures still major issues for our health and care services, we will continue to provide analysis and research on how to ensure long-term sustainability. 2019 will see us develop our plans for a new Health and Social Care Sustainability Research Centre, based at the Health Foundation. 

The centre will work with external academic partners to produce robust projections and evidence to support better policy and strategic decision making on what will be needed to meet demands and expectations for health and care into the future. This will include opportunities for external research teams. We expect to provide around £10 million of funding over the next five years, with applications opening around the end of 2019.

We’ll also help health and social care policymakers prepare for the future through our new Shaping Health Futures programme, examining long-term trends and how leaders respond through today’s strategies. 

Finally, we will also be sharing learning from the Behavioural Insights Research Programme and the Efficiency Research Programme later this year.

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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