Future ready health and care system

Looking at how health and care services can adapt to the challenges of an uncertain future

The health and care system has faced increasing challenges for decades, with the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit further accelerating several pressures due to workforce stress and the difficulty of recruiting and retaining staff. Demand for NHS services has grown at a faster rate than the pipeline of new staff. There is a shortage of doctors, and it is thought that at any time, around 6% of hospital doctors are underperforming. Additionally, there is growing evidence of organisational stress in the NHS leading to backlogs in planned care, delays in emergency care and organisational deficits. The challenges faced by the NHS cannot be separated from the crisis in social care, where chronic underfunding, severe staffing shortages and a growing elderly population has shifted unmet need for social care and support to demand for hospital-based services.
Several key developments will be needed to address these challenges. These involve changes to clinical education and workforce development, including equipping staff with the skills and capabilities to make the most of digital and technological developments, and tackling workforce stress. They also include developing and supporting the rapid deployment of new clinical interventions, the promotion of service integration and an openness to radical transformation in terms of overall health system design. The future ready health and care system brings together Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research (PIHR) strengths across the critical but exciting field of health and care service development.

Broadly, our research falls into four sub-themes: