The long-term sustainability of the NHS
Used properly, biomedical and digital science and technologies have the potential to improve healthcare and underpin more efficient and cost-effective health systems. We welcome the opportunity for wider engagement with the issue of NHS sustainability through this call for evidence, and are delighted that the committee has already highlighted the need for longer-term thinking by government about the future of our health system.
Our response is focused on addressing questions 1, 6 and 8 - those that have an explicitly technological dimension, or where we feel that science and technology might be important in solving the problems highlighted.
Rather than considering how technology can be used to sustain the current model of healthcare delivery (e.g. by reducing demand and increasing efficiency), we believe that what is urgently needed is expert analyses and public debate that embrace the rapid evolution of both technology and the society in which it is embedded.
We suggest that technological and societal changes should be harnessed to drive a more radical transformation in health care enabled by the new emphasis on personalisation. Underlying this transformation is the principle that individuals would take more responsibility for staying healthy and minimising morbidity through periods of acute and chronic illness by their own personal and self-directed preventive healthcare programmes.