Our priorities

We are a leading centre of research and analysis. We focus our activities on six priority areas: workforce; technology and digital; primary care; small hospitals; quality and equity; and politics, legislation and governance.

We seek to be respected and highly regarded by our main audiences; to remain separate from but expert in the NHS and social care; and above all to use our independence, highly skilled staff and unique position to be a force for good in improving the health and social care of the UK population.

Many of the most pressing issues in the NHS at present relate to the planning, deployment and design of the workforce. We are constructively challenging current approaches to workforce planning and policy, and the way in which the workforce is organised and deployed in practice, working in partnership with local and national bodies.

See our work on the NHS workforce
Technology and digital

Creating a digital NHS and making best use of new technology are national policy priorities, promising to improve the quality and efficiency of care, empower patients and support joined up services. Our work in this area considers the practical implications of this vision, including the relationship between technological and digital initiatives, implications for the workforce and the ultimate patient experience.

See our work on technology and digital
Primary care

General practice, often described as the bedrock of the NHS, is undergoing a period of rapid change including new models of service delivery; changes to structure and organisation; and reform of the Quality and Outcomes Framework as part of a new five-year GP contract. Other primary care services, in particular community pharmacy services, are also experiencing significant change. Our work in this area will focus in particular on the implications and impact of new models of care, and on quality and quality improvement in primary care.

See our work on primary care and general practice
Small, remote and rural services

We will build on work on acute medicine and surgery to expand our analysis of the potential for new models of care to obstetrics and other key specialties. We will also seek to work with NHS England and Improvement’s programme in this area and a newly established network set up by NHS Providers. We will also look for opportunities to undertake small projects with individual hospitals either directly or as an advisor as part of larger projects. We will scope and apply for further NIHR funding to build on our work on medical generalism in small hospitals.

See our work on small, remote and rural services
Quality and equity

Measures of how patients access services, their experiences of care and the outcomes of care – including how well health and care services meet the needs of different groups of patients or staff – are fundamental to understanding whether policies are delivering the impact intended. Work falling under this theme includes our work on outcomes for children and young people and for prisoners, alongside our developing commentary on outcomes for people with a learning disability and other vulnerable groups. Our work on gender and other pay gaps also falls within this theme, as does our ongoing QualityWatch programme delivered in partnership with the Health Foundation.

See our work on quality and equity
Politics, legislation and governance

Political, funding, legislative and other issues which in some cases may originate from outside healthcare but which may have an impact on systems and services. At the time of writing key topics within this theme are Brexit, NHS finances and the funding and organisation of the social care system, as well as our work on accountability, governance and service planning within Integrated Care Systems and Integrated Care Providers.

See our work on political, funding and legislative issues