Dr Hilary Burton considers the recent speech from the Secretary of State for Health on the next five years of the NHS and beyond, and welcomes the policy shift towards placing the individual at the centre of an innovation-based health service.
A welcome policy shift signals a brighter future for the NHS
A major new PHG Foundation report, Pathogen Genomics Into Practice, calls for urgent action to make the most of genomics in the fight against infections. It provides a policy roadmap for decision-makers, setting out the necessary actions to ensure citizens and patients benefit promptly from scientific advances and government investment in infectious disease genomics. In separate news two studies have used genome sequencing to pinpoint and retrace the spread of the Ebola outbreak.
Science and health policy
The challenges of health policy have exercised many minds this month. A new report from The Health Foundation and The King’s Fund says a transformation fund is needed to drive forward essential changes to health and care services, and Lord Rose has called for the urgent need to develop better NHS leadership and oversight. The Department of Health’s annual report, released this month, looked at the challenge ahead for the NHS of innovation for all. A review for UK National Screening Committee was published.
In research news, scientists have identified a new genetic cause of severe obesity and diabetes which if identified could help a patient manage the condition. With the release of the preliminary trial results of potential Alzheimer drug, Solanezumab, we looked at how the ethical argument on the utility of different predictive testing could change as new treatments are discovered. Cambridge has been announced as the headquarters for UK’s new innovation centre for precision medicine, and the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPRC) have announced a new molecular pathology network to enhance UK’s ability to deliver 21st Century diagnostics.