What the future forum did next…

Posted on August 18, 2011 by


The NHS future forum announced today that they are continuing to talk to patients, services users and professionals to give the government advice on planned changes to the NHS. They are going to focus on four themes including how to use information better to improve health – patient data offers a huge resource for health research – and education and training – we are particularly concerned that the system supports individuals across the NHS to develop the skills to get involved in research.

They plan to report back to ministers later this year.


The NHS future forum was established in response to growing concerns about the Health & Social Care bill to help the government listen and engage and consider making changes to the Bill.

Led by Steve Field, it published recommendations on 13 June. The next day, the government responded, making changes to the bill and committing to look further at other areas.

What are the forum looking at now?

The future forum is taking a closer look at four areas:

  • information: how to make information improve health, care and wellbeing
  • education and training: how to develop the healthcare workforce to deliver world-class healthcare
  • integrated care: how to ensure the Government’s modernisation programme leads to better integration of services around people’s needs
  • the public’s health: how to ensure the public’s health remains at the heart of the NHS.

There’s more detail on the questions they will be exploring in each area

Interesting bits for health research?

In information they are going to be exploring:

How can we ensure that information supports improved care and better integration of services (for example, commissioning, research, clinical audit, public health) whilst protecting patient confidentiality?

The masses of information retained by the NHS in patients’ records provides an amazing resource for health research. But we need to find a way that protects both patients and researchers and enables this information to be used safely and securely.

Education and training includes looking at:

How can we ensure that education and training in the new system is flexible and fit-for-purpose for the new way that care is delivered and enables training beyond the job, for example stimulating a culture of continuing professional development or academic and research development?

How can we ensure appropriate and effective patient and public engagement in the new system?

We are concerned that a system is developed that enables individuals across the NHS – not just consultants and academics but also nurses, midwives and therapists – to get involved in research.

We are also concerned that the system can support meaningful patient and public involvement in research. Helping people to get involved in both the design of research – what questions to ask – and the conduct of research – getting involved in trials of new medicines etc.

Public health touches on some of the issues over how to manage the move to more localised responsibilities, and how different bodies will interact. It also looks at how the system will use evidence to evaluate and improve what we are doing to better improve people’s health.

What next?

This future forum is looking at lots of areas relevant to health research – we need to feed in our concerns and recommendations so they can take these into account.

They want to hear back from people by 18 October, or on integrated care, there’s a little bit longer – 18 November 2011.

Posted in: Policy