Prof. Maureen Baker CBE, Chair of PRSB

“As NHS and social care services continue to navigate the post-Covid world, we will continue to advocate the use of standards across the UK, working closely with vendors, professionals, and people using services to make it a reality. “

 2020: A challenging year for health and care

It has been another challenging year for NHS and social care services, as we continue to battle the Covid pandemic and its aftermath. Yet the period has sparked huge innovation in the development and application of innovative technology. Having worked personally for the 111 service during the first wave, I witnessed the benefits of ‘digital first’ care in many situations, which is a new way of working that will continue after the pandemic. Digital portals that people can access for personal health and care information, AI and apps, are also moving to the forefront of the health and care tech space, paving the way for more personalised care in future.

As we support this growth and development, maintaining safety for people using services will be paramount. Our report on Covid highlighted some of the key issues that need to be addressed around the safety and quality of care because of the increasing use of virtual consultations, remote monitoring and digital technologies including apps. We also hope that the increased adoption of standards will help to support this, by ensuring professionals have access to the right information they need. This year we have been delighted to witness huge advances in implementation, which has sparked more interest in the work of PRSB.


Building valuable links

Although no live events have taken place in the past year, we have spoken at numerous online conferences, including The Health Plus Care Show and Digital Health Rewired, among others. Media and social media activity have also increased, with all the standards we have released in the past year attracting coverage from digital health magazines. As well as building valuable links with existing members, we have seen extraordinary growth, welcoming nine new members to the organisations including the British Geriatrics Society, Care Software Providers Alliance (CASPA), Defence Medical Services, Digital Nurse Network, Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), Institute of Biomedical Science, National Association of Link Workers, Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, and Shared Care Records Local Government Network. This growth demonstrates the huge demand for standards and reflects the ever-increasing interest in our work from the frontline professionals we have been trying to reach. Through our new and existing members, we can further expand our reach, linking to a more diverse range of professionals than ever before across the whole of the UK.

Our board has also expanded, with Dr Nilesh Bharakhada joining us as the PRSB’s executive clinical director of health and care. He has been a valuable advisor to the organisation for many years, and we are delighted to welcome him to the team in a more permanent capacity. We said goodbye to Dr Philip Scott this year, who has been a champion of PRSB since its inception. While he will continue to be an active supporter of our goals, we wish him the best in pursuing other projects. Two new advisors, Andrew Hall, and Dr Bernard Crump have joined the board, and we look forward to benefitting from their expertise and working with them to drive the organisation forward.


A new ‘people network’ to help shape and support our work

In addition to developing new relationships with health and care professionals, we are also expanding our work with people who use services through our new ‘people network.’ The role of people in co-leading all our projects has been invaluable and we have had fantastic input from those working on our standards this year. They include Emma Robertson on the nursing standard, Pete Wheatstone on pathology, Annie Makoff on community mental health, Lawrence Mudford on shared decision-making and Sam Bergin-Goncalves, who has been instrumental to the development and implementation of the social care standards. They have been a huge support in helping us to shape our work so that it can be implemented. A new people network committee has been established, to ensure that our projects can be more accessible and inclusive of the public. We have diversified the public and professional groups we work with and will continue to do so over the coming year.

As NHS and social care services continue to navigate the post-Covid world, we will continue to advocate the use of standards across the UK, working closely with vendors, professionals, and people using services to make it a reality.