The future of health, social care and inflatable underwear….

Date: 
12 Dec 2016
Details: 

On Friday 9th December, Devon and Cornwall Business Council held their final conference of 2016 considering “The Future of Health and Social Care: Demographic Opportunities and Challenges”, focusing on the profound change this sector is to undergo over the next decade, as the need to deliver better healthcare outcomes for individuals, through a more joined-up approach, grows ever stronger.

The event was held at The John Bull Building, and was hosted by Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry.

The agenda consisted of speeches from the following experts about the current state of the healthcare sector across Devon and Cornwall, the challenges they face in the years to come and, importantly, how the private sector can work with the public sector to try and overcome some of these challenges.

  • Anna Mankee-Williams (Strategic Partnership Lead for Innovation and Technology in Care, Falmouth University).
  • Mike Pearce (Head of Procurement at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT))
  • Daniel O’Toole (Director of Finance / Deputy Chief Executive at Livewell Southwest - “Future of Health and Care)
  • Professor David Bristow (Head of Peninsula School of Medicine, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, and Dentistry)
  • Professor Oliver Hanemann, Associate Dean for Research and Brain Tumour Research lead
  • Video from Professor Rob Sneyd, Dean of Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry

(Picture L-R: Ben Rhodes (Chief Executive, DCBC), Anna Mankee-Williams (Strategic Partnership Lead for Innovation and Technology in Care at Falmouth University), Daniel O’Toole (Director of Finance / Deputy Chief Executive at Livewell Southwest), Mike Pearce (Head of Procurement at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Professor David Bristow (Head of Peninsula School of Medicine, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry), Professor Elizabeth Kay (Assoc Dean for Equality and Inclusion / Foundation Dean Peninsula Dental School Peninsula Dental School), Denis Wilkins (Chairman of the Peninsula Medical Foundation))

Anna Mankee-Williams said: “I am really happy that I was able to be part of this DCBC Conference, as it was really useful for me to not only interact and engage with businesses but also to hear what’s going on in other parts of the region. I think there needs to be more collaborative events like this.”

Anna’s presentation focused on the current state of Cornwall’s healthcare, as well as outlining some of the predicted figures regarding individuals over the age of 85, health, sickness, antibiotic resistance and bacteria growth, and the future of inflatable underwear (to reduce the impacts of falls on the elderly)!

Anna highlighted that across Devon and Cornwall the forecast budget deficits in the NHS are huge and the option of just carrying on as normal is not available. There is a real imperative to become radical in our thinking.

As head of procurement, at SWAFST, Mike Pearce set the scene on the National Challenges affecting the Ambulance Service, including resourcing, demand versus placement at universities for aspiring paramedics, and the ever increasing competitive pressure the private sector creates for the public sector by offering services, with non-NHS terms and conditions at lower prices.

Mike said: “I hope that, as an outcome of this event, people have an understanding of the workings of the ambulance service and the challenges that we face in the near future. I also hope that it is of interest to them, and that they will consider getting involved in the future”

Daniel O’Toole, who was the third speaker at the event, outlined the the positives of becoming an integrated organisation, and what further integration will mean for the healthcare sector, and the challenges Livewell Southwest as an organisation face with technology, recruitment and retention.

Dan said: “I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to present to everybody today at this DCBC Conference. Moving forward, as an outcome of today, I hope that some of those present in the room will come back to me, particularly on technology, with what they think they can help us with, as an organisation and becoming more integrated with technology”.

Finally, the event delegates heard from Professor David Bristow and Professor Oliver Hanemann who gave an update on the commitments Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry (PUPSMD) are proposing, and the strategies that will be used to help deliver them. They also outlined how PUPSMD are leading the way nationally and the impact it’s having on Plymouth as a city and the South West region through community engagement and widening participation.

David Bristow said: “Today’s event was a great opportunity to showcase the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry and to look for opportunities of collaboration in the future”.

The key points raised at the event include:

  • Skills, recruitment, and retention are commonly occurring problems throughout the healthcare sector. Organisations like PUPSMD are delivering high quality graduates with clinical trainers and educational supervisors for those on work placement saying that Peninsula graduates are the best overall prepared UK medical school graduates. PUPSMD is also ranked first in the UK for Research Output in Clinical Medicine, by the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and they are also the only school to have maintained a place in the top three in this regard for each of the last 4 years.
  • The demand for patient facing time within the sector is ever increasing, and thoughts are turning towards the use of tele/video conferencing, telehealth, and telemedicine, however these also create challenges for the sector. The need for sometimes significant changes in behaviour and the technical skills required by patients and professionals alike are two significant challenges to rolling out such schemes.
  • Funding and resource budgets are constantly reducing, forcing the need to focus on delivering significant savings. Subsequently, there is a danger that procurement focuses too heavily on price, while failing to take into consideration the overall benefits to the taxpayer.
  • The need for collaboration between the private sector and the public sector grows ever stronger, and the healthcare sector looks to enter the biggest crisis it has seen so far. Longer-term contract periods could be key to ensuring that incentives are in place to encourage significant private sector investment in technology and infrastructure. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) should be encouraged to favour 10 year contracting periods.

The event closed with a panel discussion chaired by Ben Rhodes, Chief Executive of Devon & Cornwall Business Council, with representatives being the key event speakers, as well as Elizabeth Kay, Assoc Dean for Equality, and Inclusion / Foundation Dean Peninsula Dental School Peninsula Dental School.

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