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Highland Marketing welcomes imaging expert to its advisory board

Rizwan Malik, divisional medical director of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and managing director of South Manchester Radiology, joins the expert group that advises the dedicated health tech agency and its clients

Leading radiologist Rizwan Malik has joined Highland Marketing’s advisory board of NHS IT and health tech industry leaders.

The divisional medical director of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and managing director of South Manchester radiology will contribute to the group’s increasingly influential discussions on health tech strategy and hot topics.

Rizwan Malik

He will also be available to advise the dedicated health tech agency and its clients, which range from established providers with enterprise systems that support the NHS in its day-to-day operations to exciting new entrants to the market.

Malik said: “Thanks to its newsletter and its website, Highland Marketing is my prime source of information about the healthcare IT space. So, when I was invited to join the advisory board, it seemed like a great opportunity to get involved with an agency that is helping the NHS and its technology suppliers to chart the way forward.”

Malik joins the advisory board at an important moment for health tech. In the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the health service moved rapidly to reconfigure its systems to support the triage and treatment of Covid-19 patients.

It also rolled out remote working, virtual clinic, and telephone or video consultation technologies. However, there is a growing consensus that health and social care now needs a “second wave” of innovation to consolidate these gains, improve efficiency, and create new, digital services for patients.

Malik said: “Health tech is at an important crossroads. The first lockdown removed some of the barriers that had prevented the NHS adopting technology that was already available to it. Now, as we look ahead to the end of the second lockdown, we need to keep up momentum.

“We need to evaluate the technology that we adopted last year, to make sure it is the right technology, and we are doing the right things with it. And we need to innovate.

“We need to add newer technologies, such as automation and AI to support clinicians, and we need completely new thinking on population health management and creating great services for patients at home. Both the healthcare system and its suppliers need to be asking: how can we go further?”

Malik has a history of innovation in the digital imaging space. Last year, he worked with Qure.ai to apply an AI tool to chest x-rays to support Bolton doctors working with Covid-19 patients.

The project helped doctors to identify deteriorating and improving patients, so they could make better decisions about intensive therapy, and won Highland Marketing’s #HealthTechToShoutAbout award in the Health Tech Awards 2020.

Jeremy Nettle, chair of the Highland Marketing advisory board, said: “The work that Bolton NHS Foundation Trust did with Qure.ai is a great example of the kind of innovation that we want to see in healthcare; not AI ‘for the sake of it’ but to deliver measurable benefits to clinicians and patients that can be replicated to other Radiology departments across the NHS.

“It’s fantastic that Rizwan has agreed to bring his practical experience of working at the front-line of the NHS and health tech to the advisory board, and we are very much looking forward to his contribution and to his experience informing our work and the approach of our clients.”

Malik studied medicine in Cambridge and London before qualifying as a radiologist. He has worked in Bolton since 2006, in a number of increasingly senior roles. Alongside his clinical interests, he has also pursued an interest in health tech.

Malik has also been an advisor to healthcare IT companies and is managing director of South Manchester Radiology, which provides consultancy and clinical advisory services to NHS organisations and suppliers looking to innovate in the imaging and AI space.

The Institute of Healthcare Management calls for openness and honesty about NHS capacity as sickness absence soars

The UK’s leading, independent, membership body for health and social care managers says politicians and policy makers must level with the public as one in five poll respondents say more than 15% of staff are now off sick or isolating

The Institute of Healthcare Management has called for honest and open communication about NHS capacity after a snapshot survey revealed the scale of sickness absence across the service.

The UK’s leading, independent, membership organisation for health and social care managers also said local leaders and communications teams should be allowed to level with the public about their situation, as almost two thirds of poll respondents reported ‘worse’ or ‘much worse’ absence levels than they would expect at this time of year.

IHM, chief executive, Jon Wilks

One in ten respondents reported sickness levels of 12-15% and one in five reported absences of more than 15%. Despite this, a majority said they were ‘managing well’ or finding things ‘tough, but we are coping.’

IHM, chief executive, Jon Wilks said this was a tribute to the planning that had gone into preparing the NHS to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic this winter, and a demonstration of the resourcefulness that health and care services have shown as the second wave has accelerated.

However, he said politicians and policy makers needed to be transparent about the situation, so the public could form realistic expectations about the NHS’ ability to open up new services and follow guidance intended to halt the spread of the disease.

“At the moment, politicians and policy makers are talking about opening additional services, such as Nightingale Hospitals and Nightingale vaccination centres,” Wilks said. “Although the picture varies across the country, our members are saying that the scale of sickness absence in the NHS right now makes that fanciful.

“Current services are managing, under enormous pressure, but without staff the idea of opening additional beds and services is a non-starter.

“We need openness and honesty about the position so workers and staff, patients and families have realistic expectations about the treatment available for Covid-19 and other conditions, and don’t lose faith in the service because the reality fails to match the headlines they are seeing.”

Wilks also urged politicians and national organisations to allow commissioners and trusts to communicate with local media, instead of relying on central messages. “If local managers could represent their position to local communities, we would have a much better understanding of what is happening across the service,” he said.

“That would almost certainly win a lot more support for the NHS and for the Covid-security measures that everybody needs to follow to halt the spread of this terrible pandemic.”

The online, snapshot survey was completed by 82 IHM members. It found 32% felt sickness absence was ‘same as we would expect at this time of year’ but 37% thought it was ‘worse’ and 25% thought it was ‘much worse’.

Asked to estimate how many staff were off sick, 30% said ‘up to 5%’, and 26% said 5-7%, 8-10%, or 10-12%. However, 12% said absence was running at 12-15% and 20% said it was ‘more than 15%’. 

Wilks pointed out that these figures exacerbated long-term shortages of staff. The NHS went into the Covid-19 crisis with 100,000 vacancies unfilled and short of more than 40,000 nurses.

Asked ‘to what extent staff absence is currently affecting your organisation’s ability to deliver services’, more than 22% of respondents said they were ‘managing well’ and 39% said it was ‘tough, but we are managing ok.’

However, 29% said ‘services are being affected, although we are not in crisis’ and 10% said ‘services are being seriously affected and we are in crisis.’

The survey was launched over New Year, so the majority of responses were submitted before this week’s big increase in cases, and the release of figures showing that the number of people who have died within 28 days of a positive Covid-test has passed 1,000 per day for the first time since April 2020.

Moonshot: Giving the gift of gigabit broadband by 2025

By Evan Wienburg, CEO of Truespeed

Normally at this time of year, Oxford Dictionaries comes up with a word of the year. But, in light of the extraordinary and seismic events we’ve seen in 2020, the Oxford team produced instead a whole list in their “Words of an unprecedented year” report. Along with words encompassing the

Evan Wienberg

coronavirus pandemic and social movements witnessed around the globe, ‘Unmute’ and ‘Zoombombing’ were chosen to represent our growing use of technology as people have adapted to working from home. And it comes as no surprise that the words ‘remote’ and ‘remotely’ have seen a significant rise in usage this year. For anyone who has struggled with the frustrations of substandard broadband whilst WFH, there are several other words and phrases that could have been added to the list. How many of us have been in team meetings this year only to find someone can’t turn on their camera or quickly upload a megabit hungry digital file because their broadband simply isn’t up the job.

Already lagging behind many other European countries in terms of broadband speeds, UK plc cannot afford all the time that’s wasted watching spinning wheels and buffering percentages on screen. For the increasing number of home-based workers running complex digital programmes, as well as school children and students accessing a variety of essential educational platforms, access to ultrafast, ultra-reliable connectivity is essential.

Things are definitely moving in the right direction but it’s still the fortunate minority – around 22% of the UK according to the latest figures – who have access to the gigabit capable broadband speeds that the UK government is keen to unleash across the UK to underpin growth, improve opportunities, increase productivity and bridge the digital connectivity divide. But at the other end of the scale, over 600,000 UK properties are still unable to get a decent fixed broadband service of 10Mbps – with rural areas in particular bearing the brunt.

Without a doubt, Gigabit-capable broadband connectivity is going to be an essential building block in the UK’s economic and educational renewal so levelling up this digital divide remains a priority. In terms of broadband infrastructure, levelling up is not a case of north versus south, but rather harder-to-connect communities versus major conurbations where the build economics look far more impressive. Regardless of UK post-code, it’s vital that everyone is afforded the same digital possibilities, with access to full fibre broadband infrastructure and digital tools at their fingertips.

As part of the Chancellor’s recent spending review, the UK government’s plan to get gigabit-speed broadband to every home by 2025 has been rolled back to a “minimum of 85 per cent coverage” but the ambition remains. And the overall budget for the planned rollout was not touched, remaining at £5 billion, although only £1.2 billion of the budget will be made available up until 2024.

We’re making great inroads in getting the full fibre show on the road – recent figures suggest that nearly 15% of premises can now order a Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) service – but of course there’s still much more to be done to accelerate roll-out and deliver on this ambitious target.

To steal another OED word of the year, delivering on the promise of full fibre and gigabit-capable broadband for everyone the length and breadth of the country isn’t a moonshot. Certainly an ambitious project, but doable provided we all pull together as an industry. Local and national government need to accelerate the pace at which full fibre rollouts are green lighted – particularly in harder to reach areas. And infrastructure providers need to continue apace with competitive offerings to accelerate rollout – not just for towns and cities, but in rural areas and traditionally hard to connect historic cities so those working and living in these areas don’t get left behind.

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OR CHIEF FIRE OFFICER VACANCY AT ROYAL BERKSHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service is made up of an engaged and dedicated team of some 700 diverse and talented individuals. We are a progressive and community-focused organisation that work as one team to deliver prevention, protection and response services to keep the residents of Berkshire safe. Our resilient workforce is made up of both operational and professional / support staff. In 2019, following our first inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, we were delighted that it concluded:

“Our first inspection of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service revealed that it is performing to a high standard. We graded the service as ‘good’ in each of our three main inspection categories. The people of Berkshire can be confident that they are being well-served.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Building on this positive assessment, we are committed to delivering an even better service to our communities, our staff and our partners. Therefore, finding the person with the specific skills, values and experience to facilitate our journey will be critical to our success.

We are seeking an inspirational and talented person to lead our Service on the next phase of our journey of change and improvement. The successful candidate will have a passion for public service, a commitment to continuous improvement and the collaborative leadership skills to guide our organisation. If you believe you possess the authenticity and vision that this role deserves, we would be keen to hear from you. To find out more about the Service, the role, the benefits and how to apply, visit: RBFRS.co.uk/JoinRBFRSSeniorLeadershipTeam

COVID – reducing risk in classrooms

By Jane Warburton – MD Flamefast

With some schools closing, and despite varying levels of Lockdown in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the spread of Covid-19 remains a real threat, especially in classrooms.

Jane Warburton MD of Flamefast

A report produced by Sage’s Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) suggested that fresh air plays a significant role in keeping the virus at bay indoors, and that poor air quality could be highlighted with the use of a CO2 monitor.

The report, which is backed by the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), demonstrates the correlation between poor ventilation and an increase in the relative risk of the airborne transmission of Covid-19, and recommends that ventilation be increased wherever possible to ensure that lower levels of CO2 are maintained.

Continuous monitoring

There is increasing evidence the virus is airborne and there is now a significant focus on ventilation. The guidance advises to increase “air changes”, however the majority of classrooms are naturally ventilated and rely on opening windows, so without the use of a CO2 Monitor there is no means to verify that the required rates are being achieved.

Scientists stated that continuous CO2 monitoring is likely to be a reliable proxy for transmission risk in most environments. Preliminary research suggested that in spaces where the same group of people regularly attend, for example schools and universities, continuous monitoring would be possible as a transmission risk indicator.

The report suggests that multi-occupancy spaces with 20 or more people would see a significant increase in relative risk when carbon dioxide levels exceed 1,500ppm (parts per million).

However low occupancy spaces or spaces with singing, loud speech or aerobic activity will require far greater ventilation rates and should aim to maintain a CO2 level of less than 800ppm, the report states.

Opening of doors and windows

Current guidance to schools is to ‘open windows and doors’ and that thermal comfort is secondary to ventilation, however during winter, in most cases this will not be feasible.

Despite the science, budget constraints in schools have held back the installation of CO2 monitors in classrooms to date, as requests in many instances into local governments have failed to produce any action. 

CO2 monitor with the traffic light indicator

Universities are addressing the problem as funding is less of an issue, and Local Authorities in Scotland are responding following the release of their own guidance from CERG as most of the schools still fall under LA control, unlike the rest of the UK where schools have been left to fend for themselves.

As winter draws in, conversations with teachers have supported the argument, with complaints that children are less inclined, or able, to work in the lower temperatures. In many cases pupils are subsequently asked to wear extra jumpers and coats, however it is yet to be seen how effective, sustainable, or enforceable this is. 

Traffic light indicator

CO2 monitors, with an easy-to-follow traffic light indicator, are already widely used in universities, schools and offices, and whilst they do not necessarily solve the ventilation problem, they remove the uncertainty and provide the occupants with the information to safely manage their environment.

Opening windows and doors in schools, will reduce the risk of Covid transmission, however it may also increase heating bills significantly. Whilst it is recommended that some windows are always open during occupation, it is not always necessary to open all of the windows all of the time. This strategy helps reduce the relative risk of transmission, but also heat loss thereby reduces heating bills, which may provide a proportion of the cost of the installation of a CO2 Monitor.

By creating a better working environment, it is already well documented that there is an increase in learning ability. In conclusion, although relatively inexpensive, CO2 Monitors should be seen as a long-term investment to benefit everyone, as well as a short-term solution to ventilation issues, as opposed to an unnecessary expense.

For more information visit www.flamefast-gas-safety.co.uk/covid

Alcidion expands partnership with NextGate to UK market

Key Highlights:

Alcidion’s reseller agreement with NextGate now expanded to include UK and Ireland.

Expansion further strengthens Alcidion’s offering to NHS organisations and integrated care records.

Lynette Ousby General Manager UK – Alcidion

Smart health tech provider Alcidion Group Limited (ASX:ALC) has announced an expansion of its reseller agreement with NextGate to include the UK and Ireland.

In 2018, MKM Health (which was acquired by Alcidion in 2018) signed an agreement to resell NextGate’s market leading Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) and Provider Registry solutions in Australia and New Zealand. Following a successful two-year relationship, this agreement has now been extended to also include the UK and Ireland.

NextGate is the global leader in healthcare enterprise identification, helping healthcare organisations overcome the clinical, operational and financial challenges that result from duplicate records and disparate data.

Alcidion’s reseller agreement with NextGate has resulted in two significant state-wide contracts in Australia. The Queensland Health Referral Service Directory based on the Provider Index was delivered by Alcidion working closely with NextGate. For the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Unique Patient Identification program, Alcidion supported NextGate in delivery of its EMPI capability.

The expansion of the agreement to the UK and Ireland will further strengthen Alcidion’s ability to support NHS trusts, health boards and region wide integrated care systems. The news follows the Alcidion’s formal launch this summer of its Miya Precision product as the first smart clinical asset for the NHS.

Lynette Ousby, UK General Manager of Alcidion, said: “With the current focus in the NHS on consolidating clinical systems across regions, the ability to include the offering of NextGate solutions to complement our Miya Precision capability, establishes a true enterprise approach to healthcare delivery.”

Kate Quirke – Managing Director, Alcidion

Alcidion’s Miya Precision presents the NHS with an opportunity to move beyond static electronic records to technology that engages healthcare professionals. Early adopters are using the platform to orchestrate information across disparate systems using modern technology from Alcidion based on the FHIR standard and to establish smart clinical engagement supported by tailored clinical decision support.

With the ability to allow NHS organisations to use data to automate routine tasks, care plans and pathways, Miya Precision is being seen as a way to realise more value from electronic patient record investments and to provide a technology orchestration layer in trusts and for entire regions.

The addition of the NextGate Patient and Provider Registries, which are built on the MatchMetrix® master identity platform, will extend that capability to effectively manage identity for both patients and healthcare providers.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Alcidion to facilitate a modernised NHS infrastructure where patients are accurately identified and consistently matched to their health and social care data,” said Andy Aroditis, CEO of NextGate. “Together, Alcidion and NextGate are delivering innovative interoperable solutions that maximise the quality, efficiency and coordination of care.”

Alcidion Managing Director, Kate Quirke commented: “I am delighted that we can now expand our success implementing the NextGate solution in Australia to the UK. The combination of our service delivery and domain expertise with the powerful capabilities of MatchMetrix creates a compelling opportunity for the health sector to establish first class identity management.”

Agilisys Appoints Richard Walker as Partner for Data & Insights

Walker joins in the wake of rapid growth in healthcare and public sector

Agilisys, the digital transformation specialist for the public sector, today announced the appointment of Richard Walker as Partner for Data & Insights. The appointment supports Agilisys’ growth within healthcare and local government and reflects the crucial role that data now plays in the role of digital transformation.

Richard joins Agilisys from KPMG, where he was most recently a Director of Data & Analytics responsible for helping public sector clients to unlock the value in their data. At Agilisys, Richard will work closely with the leadership team to build and evolve the company’s data-led customer offerings.

Richard Walker

“I’m a firm believer that the better use of data is critical to the future of our public services,” says Richard Walker, Partner for Data & Insights at Agilisys. “As more organisations explore the potential in their data and in turn realise the benefits of advanced analytics and digital innovation, it’s a hugely exciting time to be in this industry. The drive to join up data across Health and Care presents a unique opportunity to generate new insights to some of our most vexing challenges. Joining Agilisys gives me the chance to put this into practice across the public sector, delivering benefits to citizens and keeping people and communities healthy, safe and thriving.”

Agilisys empowers public sector workers with the tools and insight to improve outcomes for the citizens they serve. The company combines significant data consulting experience with an award-winning approach to technology solution delivery to create end-to-end solutions for its public sector clients.

“We’re delighted to have attracted someone of Richard’s calibre to Agilisys and look forward to seeing him apply his experience and vision to our customers,” adds Louise Ah-Wong, Senior Partner for Digital Transformation at Agilisys.

“Whether you’re talking about data analytics for healthcare or local and regional government, the key is allying deep industry and sector knowledge with broad functional capabilities with a high degree of technical sophistication. The addition of Richard to our team bolsters our already strong data capabilities and allows us to join up our AI, insight, data platform and data managed services offerings and leaves us well placed to better meet the needs of the market. Richard will be supported by newly promoted Agilisys veteran Dan Thompson who has taken the role of Head of Data Services and Engineering.”

NEW PARTNERSHIP TO BRING CHARITIES TOGETHER TO TACKLE HOMELESSNESS IN WAKEFIELD

A new partnership between a charity platform and homelessness support network has launched with the aim of bringing local charities together to support vulnerable people and tackle the challenge of rough sleeping in Wakefield.

Investors in Community, a charitable giving platform which links good causes with businesses and fundraisers, will be working with Street Support Network and Wakefield Council to link more than 30 charities, voluntary groups and government services.

The network of organisations will provide long-term solutions for people who need help to transform their lives. Services such as getting rough sleepers into housing, where to get food, support for alcohol or drug addiction or advice on benefits.

The Street Support Wakefield website and app also enables local residents and businesses to see what they can do to help, which includes donating money or items such as food or clothes, and volunteering.

Residents can also contact the Council and Wakefield’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Service if they are concerned about someone they have seen sleeping rough.

Phillip Webb, managing director of Investors in Community, said:

“Street Support Wakefield is a great initiative bringing good causes together to tackle the hugely important issue of homelessness and we are delighted to be working with the Street Support team, Wakefield Council and the 30-plus organisations supporting the project.

“The Investors in Community platform is free of charge for charities and it will enable them to shout louder about the fantastic work they have been doing as part of the Street Support Network, and gain extra support for businesses and individuals. Times are hard for lots of people at the moment and good causes are more important than ever to the vulnerable in our local communities.”

Gary Dunstan, Co-Founder of Street Support Network, said:

“Due to COVID-19, more people are now facing hardship and homelessness; and local charities need the help of businesses and the public to help vulnerable people in Wakefield. We hope that this new partnership can capture all the kindness there is locally in Wakefield and direct it to where it is needed.”

Investors in Community has been working closely with charities and businesses in Wakefield since a partnership with Wakefield BID brought companies together to collaborate on CSR projects.

For more information about Street Support Wakefield, visit streetsupport.net/wakefield/

For more information about Investors in Community, visit investorsincommunity.org/

The X factor: resolving national and local tensions in NHS IT

Jeremy Nettle

Industry veteran Jeremy Nettle reflects on a recent debate by the Highland Marketing advisory board on the role of national and local organisations in NHS IT policy, funding and implementation. Twenty-years of switching focus has created confusion and delay, he argues, and it’s time for a new model. 

I was interested to read that McKinsey has been hired to review the way that NHS England/Improvement, NHS Digital and NHSX work together. According to the Health Service Journal, Laura Wade-Gery has called in the consultants as part of a wider piece of work on how to drive digital transformation in health and care.

Readers were sceptical about the value of another review; and about the value of consultants doing it. But the question of who should be determining NHS IT policy, and who should be delivering health tech initiatives, is a pressing one. It was the subject of a debate by the Highland Marketing advisory board, which I chair, that concluded a new model is needed.

Adding complexity to a complex system

The relationship between national, regional and local leadership of NHS IT is complex, and it has taken a long time for it to become as complex as it has. This May, the National Audit Office pointed out that the health service has been trying to deploy technology for twenty years, and what it has been trying to achieve hasn’t changed all that much.

What has changed is the approach. We’ve gone from ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ in the 1998 Information for Health strategy, to ‘command and control’ with the National Programme for IT, to attempts to find a ‘third way’, like the global digital exemplar programme, and reverted to central targets.

The three bodies that McKinsey is reportedly reviewing have their origins in these different approaches. Some of NHS Digital’s core functions date back to Information for Health, while NHS E/I came up with the GDE programme when Jeremy Hunt was health secretary, and NHSX arrived with his successor, Matt Hancock.

There is no doubt that they can get in the way of each other, and with the work that trusts and integrated care systems are trying to do on the ground. The Highland Marketing advisory board was given some interesting examples by the CIO of an ICS.

First, it was told that it couldn’t let GPs book hospital appointments from within an integrated care pathway, because it must use NHS Digital’s Choose and Book, which was set-up in a very different era of patient choice and acute-sector competition.

Then, it had to put its hospital-diversion projects on hold, to get an NHS E/I ‘talk before you walk’ service in place for A&E this winter; while finding the funds for ‘axe the fax’, which is not an immediate priority, and will eventually be addressed by creative use of an integrated digital care record.

Clarifying responsibilities and roles

If we are going to find a way through this complexity, we are going to need a return to first principles. What is the health and care system trying to do, who does it want to do it, what technology does it need, and who does it want to do that?

Ideally, that would mean clarifying the role of NHS E/I, its regional offices, and health and care systems, and it would mean defining policy and delivery in terms of outcomes, rather than processes or technologies, so organisations could do things in the way that works for them.

That, in itself, would go some way towards addressing the frustrations of our ICS leader, being told to implement a national policy with a specified technology (roll-out ‘talk before you walk’, use NHS 111) that doesn’t align with local priorities (create integrated care pathways, make the most of the developing IDCR).

However, the advisory board felt that it would also be useful to have a new NHS IT strategy, to articulate what kind of technology the health and care system is going to need, and a central body to drive it. Ideally, this body would be strong enough to push back against distracting initiatives (like ‘axe the fax’, again).

Or, at least, it should be able to ask what outcomes such initiatives are meant to achieve, where they sit in the priority list, and how they are going to be funded. Alongside a new NHS IT strategy, we felt the NHS should also revisit the idea of digital maturity.

New models are needed to enable the centre, healthcare economies and individual trusts to prioritise investment, assess progress, identify technology gaps, and work out where support is needed. On the last point, some of the ideas behind the GDE programme could also be revisited, and ‘federated’ models developed to enable trusts to pool budgets, learn from each other, and get a better deal from suppliers.

The x-factor

Our discussion reached a fair degree of consensus on what a more strategic, more stable approach to NHS IT would look like. It would leave policy making at a national level but encourage a focus on outcomes rather than processes or technologies.

It would create a new NHS IT strategy aligned to maturity models that could be used to measure progress and push back against ‘headline-grabbing’ or ‘soundbite’ culture. It would mean a new IT body to set strategy, measure progress, and advise the government. It would mean regional or federated support for local organisations that would otherwise be charged with delivery.

The McKinsey review may have concluded that some of this exists already. Clarifying the role of NHS E/I should be bread and butter to a management consultancy. The NHS E/I regional offices look well placed to take on at least some of the federated co-ordination and support role. ICSs are developing.

So, the big question may be: does the NHS need a new body to set strategy and measure maturity? Or, if this sounds a lot like what NHSX was set up to do: why isn’t it doing it, and how can we make sure that it can do it in the future?

 

Read a full report of the Highland Marketing advisory board discussion on highland-marketing.com 

Highland Marketing advisory board

Highland Marketing’s advisory board is: Jeremy Nettle, former global advisor for Health Sciences, Oracle Corporation; Cindy Fedell, former chief digital and information officer at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Andy Kinnear, former director of digital transformation at NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit; James Norman, healthcare CIO, EMEA, at DellEMC; Ravi Kumar, health tech entrepreneur and chair of ZANEC, and Andrena Logue, consultant, Experiential HealthTech.

Highland Marketing is an integrated communications, PR and marketing consultancy with an unrivalled reputation for supporting UK and international health tech companies, built over almost 20 years. Read more analysis and interviews on the Highland Marketing website, follow us on Twitter @Highlandmarketng, or get in touch on: info@highland-marketing.com

allpay celebrates new contract with the NHS Business Services Authority

allpay has confirmed a contract with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) to facilitate payment card top-ups to the digitised Healthy Start Scheme which will be launched in 2021.

Healthy Start is a statutory scheme which will be administered by the NHSBSA on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) from 2021, to support better diets for lower-income pregnant women and families with children under four.

The NHSBSA is launching a digitised Healthy Start Scheme in 2021 that will offer an online application form and prepaid card to replace the current paper vouchers. This will help disadvantaged families eat more healthily by providing support that is simpler to access and more flexible to use. allpay is to facilitate top-ups to the scheme’s new payment cards, which can be spent on fresh, tinned or frozen plain fruit and vegetables, pulses, milk and infant formula.

Digitisation of the scheme removes the requirement for retailers to register with the scheme, to accept paper vouchers in their stores. Unlike the paper voucher scheme, the new digital scheme will allow beneficiaries to purchase items in any retailer with a card payment system.

The Healthy Start Scheme currently supports some 300,000 beneficiaries a year, with digitisation expected to help support more families to apply for and use the scheme.

allpay has previously worked with the Scottish Government on the “Best Start Foods” scheme, the prepaid card programme assists families with children under three who are eligible for certain income benefits and encourages the purchase of “healthy” products from retailers.

Tony Killeen, Managing Director, allpay Limited said: “The digitisation of the Healthy Start Scheme is an exciting step and I am delighted that allpay has been able to utilise its prepaid solution to help the NHS Business Services Authority and other partners make this, what we hope, will be a very successful initiative.”

Chris Calise, Head of Service for Healthy Start, at NHSBSA said: “NHSBSA is looking forward to helping more families to eat healthily and making the scheme available to more families through the delivery of a digital scheme and the contract with allpay is a step in the right direction. We’re looking forward to working with them on this important initiative.”

ECON AND SAFECOTE’S PATHS MERGE IN NEW WINTER SERVICES PARTNERSHIP

Keeping the nation’s cycleways and pathways clear and ice-free this winter has just got easier with the announcement of an exciting new winter services partnership.

This new venture between Safecote and Econ Engineering will provide local councils across the country with the equipment and materials to clear ice and snow on footpaths and cycleways more

Continue reading ECON AND SAFECOTE’S PATHS MERGE IN NEW WINTER SERVICES PARTNERSHIP

Exclusive Report: IT hinders UK public sector response to Pandemic, finds major pan-European study

 

UK public servants see biggest shift to remote working compared to European counterparts, and over half now want to continue working from home post Covid-19 A third (37%) of UK public servants say their IT hindered their ability to respond to the crisis 58% say that a remote delivery model can maintain or improve

Continue reading Exclusive Report: IT hinders UK public sector response to Pandemic, finds major pan-European study

PM to confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December

The Prime Minister will tomorrow publish a Covid Winter Plan, setting out the next phase of the government’s Covid response.

On Monday, he will confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December and set out how England will move back into a three-tiered, regional set of restrictions.

Whilst some local measures will be similar to

Continue reading PM to confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December

Clearview Intelligence social distancing solution helps keep ITV Studios’ I’m a Celebrity on the air

Electronic proximity detectors

As part of their COVID-safe production plan, ITV Studios is issuing all the crew of its hit TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! with electronic tags to ensure they keep a safe distance apart during this series.

The show is being set in Gwrych Castle, North Wales

Continue reading Clearview Intelligence social distancing solution helps keep ITV Studios’ I’m a Celebrity on the air