NHS England produced a publication in its 65th anniversary year (2013) entitled 'The NHS Belongs to the People: A Call to Action (pdf)'. It articulates the aspiration to deliver the very highest standards of patient care against the reality that the projected total cost of running NHS England will rise from £95 Bn in 2013 to £137 Bn in 2020, whilst the resource will only rise to £108 Bn in the same period. There are a number of factors that are leading to rising costs, and the Call to Action highlights poorly joined-up care between adult social care, community services and hospitals as one of these.
The EPSRC Fast Assessment and Treatment in Healthcare (FAST Healthcare) NetworksPlus is a response by the Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) community to this call. We are a network of academics with clinical, industrial and charity partners who are working to optimise treatment processes in public healthcare using an engineering methodology to develop practical solutions which can be realistically implemented. Our ability to achieve this is enabled by four years of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). This will allow us to run a series of events to bring together key stakeholders in the provision of public healthcare with members of the academic EPS and clinical communities leading to small-scale collaborative projects to seed-fund transformative research.