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Update June 2021

Welcome to this month’s policy update from HLA:THINK

Through these regular updates we will share with you some of the key developments in different areas of health and care policy, all through publicly available resources.

If you are interested in the work of HLA:Think and would like to get involved, feel free to contact us on

Social Care

This month’s Queen’s Speech drew criticism from the Labour Party, National Care Forum, UNISON and others for its lack of focus on health and social care. A joint report by the LSE and Lancet has called for a £102bn finding increase to the NHS and social care over the next ten years. This follows analyses of the social care system by the Nuffield Trust and The Kings Fund. The Health Foundation has also analysed social care policy response during the COVID pandemic.

NHS Digital Transformation

NHS plans to share 55 million patient records with third parties have been postponed following opposition by groups including the Royal College of General Practitioners, BMA, Doctors Association UK, Information Commissioner’s Office, and the Labour Party. The new ‘GPDPR’ framework is now due to launch on 1st September and we enclose NHS Digital’s information page. We also link to a statement from the National Data Guardian.


Thirteen organisations including the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Royal College of Psychiatrists and The Kings Fund have called for a military-style mental health service for frontline NHS workers. This follows data from the University of Roehampton and UNISON on the growing prevalence of mental health issues in NHS staff. Meanwhile, the BMA has warned that thousands of doctors may leave the NHS due to exhaustion. In response, Samaritans have expanded their support network for frontline staff. The NHS Race and Health Observatory released a joint statement with three professional regulators this month calling for fair and inclusive policies and procedures. It follows their earlier response to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report. This report was criticised by organisations including the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, The Health Foundation and BMA. Further work has been penned by The Kings Fund on addressing racial inequality and leader-allyship.

COVID Recovery

The Prime Minister announced this month that a public inquiry into COVID-19 will begin in Spring 2022. This was welcomed by the Labour Party, though organisations including The Kings Fund and Institute for Government have called for a hastier start to the inquiry. This month NHS England told GPs to recommence face-to-face appointments. In response, the BMA GP Committee condemned this. The Royal College of General Practitioners’ stance can be viewed here. Proof of COVID Vaccine Status became available in the UK this month. The European Council have called for a similar system to be developed on the continent, though the World Health Organisation remains opposed to this. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee called for Government to abandon plans for COVID Vaccine passports.


This month the government’s Vaccine Minister told journalists that compulsory COVID-19 vaccination for NHS staff is being considered. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published a report this month exploring vaccine refusal by health and social care workers. Similar calls for care home workers have been backed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. A government consultation on these plans closed this month. We also attach the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s recent report on COVID vaccine passports. We have collated positions on mandatory vaccination by the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners and the Shadow Health Secretary.

Produced by Jamie Carruthers and Arrash Yassaee

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