NHS Confederation response to the Times Health Commission report

Matthew Taylor says the Times Health Commission's report makes a number of important recommendations about the future of the health service.

4 February 2024

Responding to the Times Health Commission report, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: 

“This new report, which we have worked closely with the Times Health Commission to shape, makes a number of important recommendations about the future of the health service. 

“Many of these suggestions will align closely with the views and aspirations of health leaders. 

“It is very welcome to see an emphasis on the vital role that technology can play in healthcare and in this fast-moving digital age, it is more important than ever that the NHS keeps pace. 

“We know that not only can greater and more streamlined use of technology benefit the NHS in terms of bringing better quality and faster care to patients, in can also do much to relieve the multiple pressures faced by health service leaders and their staff. 

“However, there are still some IT issues within and across NHS organisations where data is not able to link up yet. While the vision of having shared health and care records in one place is important for both patients and staff, the process, infrastructure and support need to be set up to make this a reality

“The NHS is recognised as one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the developed world, but we know that more can be done to improve productivity, and health leaders and their teams are always looking at ways to generate even greater efficiencies.

“One of the crucial ways that this productivity challenge can be addressed is by providing the NHS with the capital investment it needs, which has not been covered in this comprehensive report. Specifically, in England, capital funding needs to increase to at least £14.1 billion annually, a £6.4 billion increase from the current level of £7.7 billion. This is vital if we are to increase productivity and reduce waiting lists.

“Elsewhere, we know the importance of good mental health for the next generation. If we don't treat children early enough, they are much more likely to develop lifelong issues and so our members are focussed on ensuring that all children and young people who need care are seen as promptly as possible. However, with demand for services rocketing this is not an easy task.”

“What we also need to see, and recognise is not an easy task, is to see sustained efforts to, on the one hand steady the ship and address the current very real pressures the NHS is under, while at the same time, look clearly to a future where the public health of the nation is improved. 

“This means that health must be considered in all government policies so that we shift towards a future where people live longer, healthier lives.”