Fourth Revolution of Healthcare “Connecting Communities, Transforming Health” Panel Briefing held at Westminster on Wednesday 16 October 2019

Intelligent Health has this week held a parliamentary panel briefing at Westminster to highlight the future of healthcare.

The event was hosted by the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, MP for West Reading and constituency MP of Intelligent Health, and the panel comprised Dr William Bird MBE, founder of Intelligent Health; Howie Frumkin, MD of Our Planet, Our Health at the Wellcome Trust; James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care at NHS England; Tim Hollingsworth MBE, CEO Sport England, Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All; and Marian Spain CEO of Natural England.

MPs including Chair of the Health Select Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP; Chairs of NHS CCGs, Directors of Public Health and Industry leaders in the sectors of sport and activity, nature, active travel, and business attended the event. The panellists described ways that all sectors could work together to improve health as a state of overall well-being rather than medicalising against disease.

Dr Bird “We are entering the fourth revolution of healthcare. The first revolution was Public Health with drinkable water, sanitation, cleaner air and better housing and working conditions. The second is Medical Health with the advancement of diagnostics and treatment with a focus on disease cure; the third is Personalised Health through knowledge and technology such as genomics, fitbits, and behaviour change.

“However, these three revolutions have left three major problems unsolved. The first is unsustainable healthcare including the rise of antibiotic resistance and problematic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, depression and cancers.

“The second is rising health inequalities and the third problem is climate change and unsustainable living. We now enter the fourth revolution in healthcare which is ‘based on communities rather than individuals, supporting sustainable lifestyles, and using culture, art and nature to create purpose leading to greater resilience and happiness. The previous three revolutions continue but the fourth if adopted in the UK will help combat the three of the greatest challenges we face.”

Panellist Howie Frumkin talked on the health aspects of climate change and redesigning transport systems, energy, agriculture and planning. He said: “The common feature of all of these changes is that they are upstream from the health sector. Tackling all of these challenges will not only help rescue our planet but will mean the future of our civilisation as we know it to continue and these interventions to tackle climate change offer an opportunity to come together to transform health.”

James Sanderson leads a range of programmes that are helping to empower people to have greater choice and control over their care and is championing personalised care as one of the five future tenets of the NHS.

He said: “Giving people choice enables them to make better decisions for themselves and also the system within which they’re being supported. Absolutely, this is part of a fourth revolution; it’s a significant cultural and infrastructure shift for the way in which the NHS delivers its support. We’ve set it out as one of the five key shifts for the NHS model and It’s gathering huge amount of momentum and we’re excited about the prospects it can bring both for individuals and the health care system.”

Tim Hollingsworth from CEO of Sport England echoed the ‘People, Purpose, Place’ model and agrees a shift is needed in thinking and changing the focus from sport to physical activity.

He said: “We need to think about being part — not of a system – but an eco-system where we can create an environment where inactive people can add more activity to their lives. It has to fit into their lives for people who do not traditionally call on the sport sector and we have to take a whole system approach, asking ourselves, how can we as a sector disproportionately and unashamedly help these people.”

Ian Findlay CEO of Paths for All, underlined the importance of public transport to physical activity, highlighting that all journeys taken by this method, begin with a walk. In Scotland, active travel has increased significantly in prominence over last 5 years.

He said: “Looking to the future, a key challenge is to ensure delivery and culture change matches the strong policy context. Our travel behaviours, from decision makers to individuals still do not adequately reflect the transport hierarchy and therefore the health benefits from travel remain sub-optimal.”

Marian Spain, CEO of Natural England, also agreed that policy was moving in the right direction, but said action was ‘fragmented’. She added that most people who visit a green space do so because it’s less than a mile from their home and issued a challenge that every child should have access to a green space within a 15 minute-walk.

Alok Sharma said: “I was delighted to hold a reception for Beat the Street in Parliament with guests from a range of companies, including Sport England and NHS England. The event was a great success and I look forward to seeing positive outcomes from the networking that took place during the evening, building connections which will help implement the aims of Nature Nurture at a national level.”

Intelligent Health is the company behind the Beat the Street game which has engaged more than one million people in 100 games in the UK and internationally.

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parliamentary event panel

IH parliamentary event panel with Alok Sharma MP (pictured left)