The Week

The Week, 20 July 2018

This week’s Reformer highlights the existing digital divide within the healthcare system. On the one hand, parts of the NHS are innovating and using modern technology to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare. On other, the NHS remains strongly attached to archaic technology, such as fax machines, to share patient information.

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation

Reformer of the week

NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, for running a project which suggests that connected care homes could cut hospital admissions by as much as a third, saving the NHS up to £1bn.

Good week for …

Digital courts

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice launched an online system for citizens to respond to jury summons requests.

Mental health education

On Thursday, it was reported that health education will become compulsory in all schools in England to tackle the rise of mental health issues.

Bad week for …

Crime reduction

On Thursday, it was reported that police have recorded a surge in violent offences. However, the Office for National Statistics highlights that they occur in relatively small volumes.

Good behaviour in schools

Also, on Thursday, it was reported that permanent exclusions from school are on the rise for the third year in a row.


“The government has adopted set processes on how to evaluate private-sector options [regarding outsourcing]. It should follow them, rather than flout them. It should be more open about the justification for and details of the deals that it strikes, instead of hiding behind the cloak of “commercially sensitive information”. That would allow the public to assess whether the government or private companies were the better steward, and scrutinise the state’s dependence on large contractors over the range of services they supply.”

The FT View, in The Financial Times on Monday.

“As the EU Exit gets closer, prioritisation and a joined up approach across government becomes ever more important. Equally crucial, is for public, private and third sectors to work together well, exchanging ideas, skills and knowledge. The UK would need this even without the EU Exit and all the associated contingency planning, because of the need to tackle the UK’s productivity challenges and to deliver the public services that people expect in the face of growing demand and higher expectations.”

Amyas Morse, writing in the NAO blog on Tuesday.

Reform’s Week

Reformer Blog

On Tuesday, Dr Ed Fitzgerald, Global Healthcare Executive at KPMG International, wrote a blog discussing international lessons which could help the NHS better harness health data.


On Monday, Maisie Borrows, Senior Researcher at Reform, spoke on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcestershire about the need to improve efficiency in hospital to reduces delays in elective care.

On Thursday, the speech given by the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP for Reform was covered by The Guardian and The Daily Mirror.


On Tuesday, Reform held a roundtable on ‘New technology in the NHS: improved patient safety, care and efficiency’, led by Roger Spencer, Chief Executive, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. This event was held in partnership with Zebra Technologies.

On Thursday, Reform hosted a speech by the Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on ‘Universal Credit: Delivering the welfare revolution’.

Upcoming Events

On Monday, Reform will hold a roundtable event on ‘Building a better service for citizens: HMRC reform and modernisation’, led by Mervyn Walker, Lead Non-Executive, HM Revenue and Customs. This event will be held in partnership with BT.

If you are interested in partnering with us in the Autumn, please do get in contact with our events team at Our work covers all of the important public services including health, education, criminal justice and welfare; cross-cutting issues such as technology in public services and diversity; and economic questions such as skills, housing and the industrial strategy.