Panellists at HSJ’s latest roundtable event could have been forgiven for bringing a crystal ball along with them, for the task in front of them was nothing less than predicting the future.

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At the event, held in association with Siemens Healthineers, members of a small expert group were asked to consider how technology might shape the future of the NHS. And with the service’s 70th birthday a recent memory, it seemed only natural to consider a timeframe of seven decades hence.

But a look forward often begins with a look back, and so it proved during this debate. When chairperson Mike Farrar asked if technological advance and the NHS had been natural bedfellows, the consensus was no. So why is that, and how can the health service of the future become better at capitalising on an explosion of data, consumer technology and computing power?

The answers were numerous and multifaceted, but the role of consumers – and the possible impact of disruptors from outside to the NHS – proved a central theme.


  • Theo Arvanitis, professor of e-health innovation and head of research, Institute of Digital Healthcare at University of Warwick
  • Paul Bate, director of NHS services, Babylon
  • Tom Clutton-Brock, reader in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, University of Birmingham; clinical director, NIHR Trauma Management MedTech Co-operative; director, European Regional Development Fund Medical Devices Testing and Evaluation Centre (MD-TEC)
  • Dr Rishi Das-Gupta, director of innovation, University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Tara Donnelly, chief executive, Health Innovation Network (academic health science network for South London) and digital lead, The AHSN Network
  • Rachel Dunscombe, director of digital, Salford Royal Group and chief executive, NHS Digital Academy
  • Dr Simon Eccles, chief clinical information officer (CCIO) for health and care, England and consultant in emergency medicine, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust
  • Mike Farrar, independent consultant (roundtable chair)
  • Peter Harrison, managing director, Siemens Healthineers
  • Sinead Mac Manus, senior programme manager digital health, Nesta Health Lab