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Conservative Party Conference 2021

Written by Jeff Courtney, October 8, 2021

Our Policy and Public Affairs Manager Jeff Courtney was at the Conservative party conference this week.

He was following developments in NHS policy as it seeks to recover from the challenges of the last 18 months. We were also promoting the report we produced with the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood on the difficulties in access to treatment for people with bleeding disorders.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who took over from Matt Hancock earlier this year, said that his priority is dealing with the long NHS waiting lists following the covid pandemic.

Over the last 18 months over 7 million appointments have not taken place. This creates a massive backlog in diagnosis and treatment, he said. The Government estimate that around 100,000 people will have an undiagnosed cancer as a result of delays in having appointments.

In his keynote speech, Mr Javid said that both additional funding as well as reform of the NHS is required to deal with its challenges. A wide-ranging review of the NHS will be led by retired General Sir Gordon Messenger.

Conservative MP Paul Bristow speaking at a Health Foundation event

Health Committee Member Paul Bristow talked about how the NHS needed expand capacity by paying private health providers to treat NHS patients and that this will continue into the future.

He also wanted to see professionals being freed up to do the most important work. For example, GPs should be freed from making routine prescriptions and surgeons should be able to operate more than one day a week.

Addressing the long backlog of people waiting for treatment on the NHS, he also wanted to see more payment by results to encourage NHS trusts to improve access to treatment.

Conservative MP Chris Philp speaking at a techUK event

At Conservative party conference there was a focus on prevention and early intervention in healthcare. They want to use more technology, including AI, to improve diagnosis and tailor treatment.

DCMS Minister Chris Philp spoke of his desire to harness the common purpose between the NHS and charities to encourage more collaboration and data sharing.