3rd – 7th February 2020

In the first of our series of Weeknotes, our Director of Policy and Strategy, Annemarie Naylor tells us what she’s been up to since the start of the week.

It’s been a busy week at FCC Towers – one infused by the feeling that what we do day-to-day is making a real difference amongst the people we’ve sought to engage in a conversation about the topics we’ve researched and championed in the service of our beneficiaries.

What happened? What’s next?

On Monday, we were chuffed to announce that our team will be working with the National Consortium for Intelligent Medical Imaging (NCIMI), headed up by the formidable Claire Bloomfield, over the coming months. Together, we are embarking upon a journey that builds upon FCC’s research and advocacy work about the value of health data to co-create a framework with researchers, front-line clinicians and enterprises – the aim of which is to derive clinical, social, economic development and commercial value from the stuff of PET, CT and MRI scans with the explicit aim of delivering patient and societal benefit.

The day culminated in our contributing a few words to BBC Radio 4’s Analysis programme alongside Sir John Bell, Matthew Gould (NHSX), Reema Patel (Ada Lovelace Institute) and others – which, truth be told, was my first outing on radio and rather daunting to hear (as I’m quite sure could be discerned from the distinct wobble in my voice) – but Dave Edmonds expertly explored how our data could underpin the development of Artificial Intelligence to benefit patients and the NHS in the years to come. In particular, it was great to finally have an opportunity to open up the idea of a Sovereign Health Fund for discussion with a wider audience – more of which will happen if you’re lucky enough to bagsy one of the remaining tickets to the OneHealthTech London event at which I’ll be speaking later this month.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we made time for team and trustees – seeking input to our forward planning, website development and project work. As we’ve honed our own understanding of FCC’s value add proposition in relation to our charitable mission and those areas of policy and practice we are eager to focus on, we’ve inevitably outgrown our original modus operandi as well as our shop window. So, we’ve set our minds to changing things up, which will become evident over the weeks ahead…

Meanwhile, I’m thrilled to have Joe Steel as FCC Board Champion contributing commercial savvy to our work on health data. I also welcomed considered input from Michael Dumigan and other Trustees about our determination to bring about a dramatic improvement in our understanding of social care – flaws in which we highlighted in our Facilitating Care Insight and Data That Cares reports. We are due to meet a number of people who are passionate about the same agenda to talk practical next steps over the coming month, following publication of the Office for Statistics Regulation’s England-wide review on the topic, and I’m feeling energised and optimistic about enthusing others to join in!

This week also saw publication of Imperial’s Institute for Global Health Innovation’s report – NHS data: Maximising its impact on the health and wealth of the United Kingdom. Therein lies more than enough material for a dedicated blog post given the extent to which it builds upon own work in this field, so I will save that for another time. Needless to say, we were grateful to Lord Darzi and Lord O’Shaughnessy for the opportunity to contribute as well as for the invitation to join the launch event (awesome canapés!).

What did I learn? What does it mean?

It’s Friday and I was reminded earlier today that I’m due to speak to undergrads at my alma mater a couple of weeks from now. I can’t wait – I love talking to people – as anyone who has met me will doubtless confirm! I will be talking about ‘Where good ideas come from (and where they can go to)’ and it occurred to me that I should update the slide deck I originally prepared on the topic for students at the LSE last Autumn, because the flurry of activity I’ve just described has left me feeling as though something significant has shifted or changed.

I’m not convinced I’m right about that – yet – but the coloured smoke in my crystal ball is swirling in a more frenzied manner than it has for some time and appears to presage a sharp increase in talk of civic deliberation about third parties using our health data in lock-step with talk of investment to unleash its potential.

Of course, these things are notoriously difficult to predict – as with the outcome of Cabinet reshuffles and the Iowa Democratic Caucus – so we will just have to wait and see what happens next. I hope that it means: a good idea is gathering momentum.