The NHS is undoubtedly in crisis. One in ten GP practices now regard themselves as being financially unsustainable, according to the British Medical Association; hospitals are “close to breaking point”, the same organisation warns; and estimates for the funding shortfall facing the entire service range from the tens to the hundreds of billions.
In 1948, political momentum, “big enough data” and “good enough technologies” turned three simple principles into a world-revered health system. Those principles were a national health service that met the needs of everyone, was free at the point of delivery, and based on clinical need, not ability to pay. But with an ageing population and proportionally fewer people chipping into the pot, those three principles are under severe threat. Can anything save the NHS?
Politicians seem long on rhetoric but short on answers, and even shorter on the cash required to plug the funding gap. Could technology be the white knight everyone’s searching for? We’ve canvassed the opinions of ten health industry experts, all of whom are involved in driving technology into the NHS in Greater Manchester, one of the devolved administrations that has been able to run pioneering trials of new technology without being dragged down by the weight of the NHS.
They’ve identified and piloted practical ways in which technology and Big Data could help solve the crisis – but are they confident that their groundbreaking work won’t simply be lost in b