Plan for Digital Health and Social Care contains important ambitions, but tackling workforce and capacity pressures will be the key to realising the vision

29 June 2022

About 2 mins to read

Responding to the publication of the government’s Plan for Digital Health and Social Care, Dr Malte Gerhold, Director of Innovation and Improvement at the Health Foundation, said:

‘This Plan is a welcome consolidation of the myriad of workstreams on tech and digital going on across the NHS and social care – which if properly aligned could add up to a good deal more than the sum of their parts. Steps like making better use of technology and data to support clinical decision making and manage population health could make a big difference to improving both quality of care and the way in which the health and care system uses its resources.

‘The Plan’s focus on inclusion is welcome. Health Foundation research has found that, while most patients had a positive experience of the increased use of technology during the pandemic, for some groups, including those with a carer, the experience was less positive. Addressing these issues will be important to ensure that those who face particular barriers get the benefits from the increased use of technology.

‘Achieving the Plan’s ambitions will mean learning the lessons of previous initiatives that have struggled to deliver. Many of the new service models proposed are about changing the way staff work and patients interact with services – so it is critical that local services are supported to redesign pathways and implement these changes in practice. Realising this vision will depend on a range of factors beyond the scope of the Plan itself, not least tackling workforce and capacity pressures. If the NHS is to recover from the pandemic and become more resilient it will need significant resources, including a fully funded, long-term workforce strategy, and boosted capital investment to support new ways of working.’

Media contact

Emily Wilson
Emily.Wilson@health.org.uk
07717 224292 

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