Confed19 – highlights from day one

Niall Dickson

It’s been a busy first day in Manchester, with more than 1,500 delegates descending on Manchester Central to see what Confed19 has to offer. Here’s a taster of what they saw



Opening the event on the main stage, our chief executive Niall Dickson addressed the three key challenges of leadership, workforce and transformation. Ryoji Nortiake, chief executive the Health and Global Policy Institute in Tokyo, highlighted the parallels between health systems in the UK and Japan, and how Japan is managing a ‘tsunami of ageing.’ Anita Charlesworth, director of research and economics at the Health Foundation, gave stark warnings about the need for further investment in the NHS, calling for more funding through taxes. "We need to increase the wider health budget by at least the same rate as the NHS England spending increase,” she said.


Simon Stevens shared his perspective from the top of NHS England and NHS Improvement, highlighting what has gone well for the NHS in the last 12 months and the essential areas where change is needed. He announced that the implementation framework for the NHS Long Term Plan would be published next week, asking organisations to chart their own course for implementing the key improvements using the national support that the framework will set out.


Delegates were able to pick up tips about how to achieve a winning mindset and modern leadership at the Health and Care Women Leaders Network session with performance psychologist Michael Caulfield. With references to the likes of Gareth Southgate, Jurgen Klopp and Bill Shankley, he said leadership is changing and modern leadership is about understanding people, empathy and kindness.


In a lively afternoon session on system working, integrated care systems and the NHS workforce, delegates heard about the ‘completely untapped resource’ of the 1.4 million mature students across England, and how partnerships with local education providers could help create a progression pipeline into the NHS. “What are your skills gaps? We can help fill them,” said Suzanne Duncan, principal of East Durham College.


In a finance breakout session, Making Birmingham a great place to grow old, Andrew McKirgan, director of partnerships at University Hospital Birmingham, noted his team had identified a problem with the system: that many older people didn't need to be admitted to hospital and could be better looked after in the community.


Later in the afternoon, the audience heard the next steps of the Topol Review, which looked at digitally transforming the NHS.


"The UK is the first country in the world to do this - to look into where technology can take us over the next 20 years," said Dr Eric Topol. The American cardiologist, geneticist and digital medicine researcher.


Technology gives the gift of time, said Dr Topol. For example, use of artificial intelligence has already freed up 400,000 hours of consultation time, he added.


Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, praised the NHS Confederation’s Health for Care campaign, for a fair, long-term funding settlement for social care. He hoped that the message was heard by the people currently vying to be the next prime minister. He hoped that the success of Devo Manc, where health is devolved, could be replicated across the NHS.




NHS Confederation, NHS England and NHS Improvement are joining forces to bring together two long-standing conferences to create a new event - ConfedExpo. This will be the biggest and most significant healthcare conference in the UK, creating a single point of focus for health and care leaders and their teams to come together at a time of transformation in the system.

ConfedExpo will be held in Manchester on 10 and 11 June 2020. More news about this exciting joint venture will follow in the coming months


Coming up tomorrow


Here are some sessions to grab your attention on day two at Confed19


- ‘In conversation with...’ zone - Victoria Macdonald talks to Baroness Dido Harding and Prerana Issar at 12.35pm.

- Focusing on health inequalities – Harvard’s Professor David Williams shares his evidence on the social and economic factors that impact health.People’s home, people’s lives – Hear from organisations that are leading local transformations to deliver care in people’s homes and communities.

- Preventing suicide, saving lives – this session will heard from individuals and families with personal experience of dealing with suicide and explore what different parts of the system can do to underline that suicide prevention is everyone’s business.


Read the full programme on the Confed19 website.


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