Westminster Health Forum

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Key decisions for utilising NHS funding - priority areas, quality and delivery of care, the COVID-19 crisis, and long-term financial sustainability

October 2020


Price: £95 PLUS VAT
Format: DOWNLOADABLE PDF


***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***


This conference will bring out latest thinking on how funding for the NHS can best be used and targeted - including increases already committed to by the Government, and extra support needed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.


We expect discussion to focus on:


  • delivery of the targets set out in the NHS Long Term Plan
  • immediate priorities resulting from COVID-19 - and dealing with its long term impact on services

It takes place with:


  • the Government’s commitment to prioritising the NHS in its legislative programme
  • the NHS Funding Act putting into law an extra £33.9bn every year by 2024 for the NHS, targeted at improving care
  • the Government making NHS funding a priority during the COVID-19 outbreak, with its £6.6bn investment in health and social measures as a result of the pandemic, and £3bn for the NHS to prepare for a possible rise in new COVID cases during winter

The discussion in detail:


Policy priorities


  • Funding in key areas set out by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, including:
    • the workforce - investment in recruitment, training and retention
    • prevention of ill health and reducing health inequality
    • technology to foster a patient-centred approach
    • infrastructure to facilitate the integration of care - upgrades and new development
    • integrated care systems deployment to support system redesign
  • Prospects for cross-party consensus on proposals for reform of the funding of social care over the next five years, following calls for care costs to be capped and funding to be brought closer in line with the rest of the NHS
  • Laying the foundations for a financially sustainable NHS and the implications of the Health Secretary’s announcement that more than £13bn of NHS debt will be written off

COVID-19 and the future


  • Implications of COVID-19 for finance reporting as the NHS moves into its second phase of response
  • Delivering health and care services remotely - future implementation, and what this means for the financial sustainability of the NHS

Specific areas for funding


  • Social care, public health and prevention services - with the Local Government Association calling for investment in these areas to match the growth of overall NHS funding
  • Mental health support:
    • with the British Medical Association calling for funding to be brought more in line with physical health provision
    • as many healthcare professionals predict a surge in the demand for services and call on Government to bring forward its long term planning for mental health services to prevent a possible post-COVID mental health crisis
  • Health and care services for those with disabilities and autism, with the recent NHS Providers ‘Getting it right for everyone’ report highlighting how underfunding has impacted the health and wellbeing of vulnerable groups
  • Integration of health and social care, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with investment proposals laid out in the 2019 spending round, with:
    • an additional £1bn was pledged for adult and children’s social care
    • the promise of a new multi-year capital settlement at the next capital review
  • Workforce recruitment and development, with a range of initiatives being put into place targeting sections of the health and social care workforce, including:
    • the impact of global travel restrictions on international recruitment
    • the Health Secretary launching the new NHS People Plan, to ensure the workforce have access to provisions to support their physical and mental health, as well as an extra £10m for clinical placements to train and educate new healthcare professionals
  • Technology, and the potential for upgrades and innovations in technology to streamline services, support staff, and enable patients to participate in managing their own care, looking at:
    • the role of funding in meeting the Health Secretary’s emphasis on technology for shaping the approach of the NHS to internal procedures, research, and patient care
    • priorities for tools and technology designed to support practices and primary care networks, and what it means for commissioning structures
    • opportunities for cross-sector collaboration post-COVID, with potential investments from the private sector, institutional and pension funds confirmed by the Health Secretary
    • the role out of new AI technologies, following further government investment to speed up diagnosis of diseases and upgrade digital pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS Trusts

Beyond financial support


  • The potential impact on NHS finances of efficiency savings, increasing productivity and reducing unwarranted variations in quality
  • Future involvement of independent service providers in the NHS - with discussion expected on the role the independent sector has played in the COVID-19 response

Why this is particularly relevant now - the context:


  • A briefing published by NHS Providers about returning to more normal service provision including: managing the demand for mental health services for those affected by COVID-19, the backlog of routine non-COVID treatments, and supporting a comprehensive test, track and trace approach to contain the virus and contain future outbreaks
  • Recent National Audit office reports including:
    • Digital transformation in the NHS which examines the current state of IT systems and related processes in the NHS, and the readiness for developing new services and ways of working
    • The Review of capital expenditure in the NHS, assessing the capital funding process in the NHS.
  • Government policy developments and initiatives, including:
    • targets set out in the NHS Long Term Plan
    • the five-year implementation plans for Integrated Care Systems
    • additional investment into NHS infrastructure announced by the Government
    • high profile workforce recruitment and development initiatives across health and social care
    • an extra £300m for NHS Trusts to upgrade A&E facilities in preparation for winter and the risk of further coronavirus outbreaks

The agenda:


  • Key issues for NHS funding - challenges, next steps, and the impact of COVID-19
  • Delivering high quality care, increasing productivity and reducing unwarranted variation
  • Resources, delivery of care and strategic targets:
    • Funding priorities in light of the COVID-19 crisis - delivery of care, workforce support, and lessons that can be applied to the future
    • Meeting targets in the NHS Long Term Plan - funding allocations, system redesign and local variation
    • Developing new models of primary care - the role of digital first primary care and changing commissioning structures
    • The future of integration between health and social care
    • The role of the independent sector in supporting the delivery of care - including during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Stakeholder priorities for funding and financial sustainability, and managing the impact of COVID-19:
    • The developing role of Integrated Care Systems in service redesign
    • Realising the potential from estates and procurement
    • Utilising technology to streamline services, enhance treatment and innovate care
    • Digital transformation in the NHS and next steps for developing remote access to healthcare
    • Workforce recruitment, training and retention

Policy officials attending:


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.


This one is no different. Places have been reserved by parliamentary pass-holders from the House of Lords, and officials from the Department of Health and Social Care; the Cabinet Office; the National Audit Office; Public Health England and MHCLG.


This is a full-scale conference taking place online***


  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference



This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles