NHS warned of £30bn funding gap unless it embraces new technology

New report accuses health service of being 'digitally risk averse' and warns that it needs to embrace innovation to meet challenges

The report warns of a significant funding gap unless the NHS embraces new technologies

Without major reform, the NHS may see a £30billion funding gap open up over the next three years, warns a new report.

Former Health Minister, Nicola Blackwood, has authored a report for GovTech investor, PUBLIC, on the promise of healthtech and the key barriers to the adoption of new technology in the NHS.

Only by removing the barriers to innovation can real improvements in the NHS be achieved

It explains the opportunities and barriers for innovators who want to work with the NHS, and lists the HealthTech 27: a list of the most-promising, product-led digital health start-ups.

These include Echo, a technology that is helping patients get their prescriptions easily and with no upfront cost while nudging them to keep up with their treatment regime.

The report, which is based on the largest-ever survey of start-ups in the healthtech space, finds that:

  • Without major reform, the NHS may see a £30billion funding gap open up over the next three years alone
  • The digital HealthTech market is finally beginning to deliver the breadth of companies required to cater to the NHS. The UK market size was £2billion in 2014 and is expected to grow to £2.9billion by 2018
  • The NHS is still digitally risk averse. Decision-making processes and procurement systems, as well as attitudes, combine to block innovation

Commenting on the findings, Blackwood said: “Only by removing the barriers to innovation can real improvements in the NHS be achieved.

The NHS is over-stretched and technology can be instrumental in easing the pressure and improving patient outcomes

“The NHS needs digital transformation. Its leadership wants it, as do its patients. Now it’s time to deliver.

“That’s why I’m calling on the NHS to commit to spend 30% of all tech-allocated funds with start-ups and SMEs.

“It’s a no brainer. Start-ups can offer flexible, innovative and cost-effective solutions to the substantial challenges the NHS faces, helping to relieve financial pressures while also improving patient care.”

Stephen Bourke, co-Founder of Echo, added: “The NHS is over-stretched and technology can be instrumental in easing the pressure and improving patient outcomes.

“In Echo’s case, my first-hand experience of managing a long-term health condition showed me how complex and time-consuming managing medication can be, for both doctors and patients.

Technology start-ups can not only save the NHS billions of pounds, but also improve diagnoses, offer more-personalised treatments, and unburden the hard-pressed staff working in our NHS

“We wanted to empower patients to take control of their conditions and get on with their lives, and at the same time take the pressure off a creaking system.

“There are more and more brilliant health-tech companies operating and together we can plug the funding gap and change the system for the better.”

And Daniel Korski, co-founder and chief executive of PUBLIC, said: “Technology start-ups can not only save the NHS billions of pounds, but also improve diagnoses, offer more-personalised treatments, and unburden the hard-pressed staff working in our NHS.

“But to do so, they need a real chance to compete.

“Start-ups need to be able to demonstrate that their products can deliver better outcomes and to be given the opportunity to get to scale, not just in one hospital or NHS trust, but for every single patient who could benefit.”

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