The Week

The Week, 26 October 2018

The Budget next Monday is a chance for the Government to refocus on a strong domestic policy to tackle challenges like low productivity and an ageing population. A Budget ending austerity should couple increases in public service spending with bold new reform to ensure extra money is spent wisely.

Maisie Borrows, Research Manager at Reform

Reformer of the week

Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer at Leeds NHS Trust, for building a toolkit that gives advice to hospital departments at Leeds NHS Trust on how to get rid of the 345 fax machines currently in use. This toolkit is now available to all NHS hospitals and is an example of an effective, local solutions that can be spread across the NHS to solve some of its biggest challenges.

Good week for…

Digitising train travel

On Friday, the Government announced it will be rolling out the first “digital only” railcard for four million millennial travellers. The Rail Delivery Group said that a digital card was safer and more efficient than a physical version.

Cancer care (I)

On Monday, research published found that radiotherapy treatment for men whose cancer was locally advanced boosted three-year survival rates to 81 per cent, compared with 73 per cent receiving standard care. This discovery could improve survival rates for over 3,000 men in England.

Bad week for…

Cancer care (II)

However, also on Monday, significant variation between diagnosing cancer in A&E across different CCGs was found; the worst performing CCG was at 26 per cent, almost double the best at 13. Late stage diagnosis of cancer significantly impacts survival chances.

Grade inflation at universities

On Monday, the Government announced plans to tackle grade inflation by introducing a new criteria on how the institution grades, which will contribute to the overall ranking of a university.

Quotes of the week

“Our goals are built upon improvement, making sure that we offer the best patient experience possible, and taking the efficiency of our services into account for every decision we make. We want to be described as the best in the NHS for the delivery of the dream: integrated care. Turning off the fax is a step towards these goals. The patient can’t see the fax without requesting a copy of their paper notes; the need to move (and track) huge volumes of patient notes around a hospital to ensure the next care giver knows what was faxed to the last professional involved in the care of the patient can be removed from the equation.”

Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Office at Leeds NHS Trust, writing in The Guardian on Thursday.

“The health system needs to make the journey from focussing on the nuts and bolts of people’s bodies to concentrating increasingly on ensuring the whole person’s physical and mental health is supported. The best doctors have always understood all of that. The training increasingly includes the human and emotional side. For instance, doctors are actively trained now how to impart difficult messages to patients. But the overall system needs to clearly move in that direction.”

Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, speaking to the House Magazine on Thursday.

Reform’s Week


On Friday, Reform published a new report ‘A data-driven approach to personalised cancer care’.

Media Coverage: On Friday, Reform’s report was covered in Prolific North and The Yorkshire Post.

On Friday, Maisie Borrows, Research Manager at Reform, wrote an op-ed for Pharmafield highlighting the benefits of using data to personalise cancer care.

Also on Friday, Maisie Borrows wrote an op-ed for Health Service Journal outlining how the NHS needs to create a single point of access to all cancer data.

Reformer Blog

On Friday, Professor Chris Harrison, Medical Director (Strategy) of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, wrote a blog discussing the use of data and personalised cancer care at The Christie.


On Wednesday, Reform hosted a Partners Breakfast led by Dr Paul Williams MP, Member, Health and Social Care Select Committee, on ‘Strategic shifts of care in the NHS’.

Upcoming Events

On Wednesday, Reform will host a Partners Dinner led by Damian Collins MP, Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on ‘The Politics of Technology’.