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Realising the Full Potential in Care

TEC Services Association (TSA), the national voice for technology enabled care, comments on the UK Government's latest published plan for digital health and social care.

The Department of Health and Social Care has published this week the plan for digital health and social care. Coming hard on the heels of both the DHSC digital strategy and overall government digital strategy (published June 13) this plan provides the opportunity for a new era of technology enabled care. As the Secretary of State said this week, “Ensuring more personalisation and better join-up of the system will benefit patients, free up clinician time, and help us to bust the Covid backlogs.”

However, fully realising this ambition requires more than the welcome investment in digitisation and technology in these latest plans and the social care White Paper, ‘People at the Heart of Care’ published in December. There is the opportunity to revolutionise the position of every citizen in relation to all our health and care and the way data and technology can support that.

This transformation needs more than investment in digitisation, training and interoperability, essential though these are. It requires a new mindset and ways of delivering this change. Central is a new approach to co-production, putting service users, carers and front-line staff in the driving seat, underpinned by quality. If all the investment doesn’t transform daily lived-experience it won’t have been worth it; it also means looking beyond the health and care data held by the NHS and social care providers. Having to repeatedly tell their story is a common complaint by users of health and care services.

The new plans promise to fix that.

But the greater prize is in the integration of the personally-held health and care data citizens increasingly have through consumer devices such as smart watches and health apps. We must work together to ensure that the ‘Data Pact’ promised in the digital strategy ‘Data Saves Lives: Reshaping Health and Social Care with Data’ encompasses this wider agenda.

The Technology Action Alliance was very recently launched, chaired by myself as representing TEC Services Association (TSA) the national voice for technology enabled care and Clenton Farquharson MBE chair of Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) board with its strong focus on the user voice. Director Jeremy Hughes CBE former chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society is facilitating in bringing together leading tech companies, care providers, public and voluntary sector bodies.

Our mission is to work with all government departments, NHS and local councils to deliver on the full potential of this revolution. The Action Alliance members are also committed to playing their part, changing the way each works to truly empower and support every citizen with joined-up, personalised care and support that each can control and influence. We’ve already started work on developing co-production design principles for consistent application across sectors.

Working together, we can create the culture as well as provide the solutions and wraparound services that make all the government investment worthwhile.

Alyson Scurfield
CEO TSA and co-chair Technology Enabled Care Action Alliance


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