About State of Care Conference 2021

This hybrid conference took place on Wednesday 8th December at 13.00-19.00 GMT. Attendees were invited to join either online or in person at Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate, London SW1H 9NH. The conference closed with a drinks and networking reception for those attending in person.

In 2020, we were hit with the most devastating pandemic in over 100 years. COVID-19 has taken just shy of 5 million lives across the globe and left our NHS more fragile than ever.

As we head into 2022, millions are on waiting lists for care; inequalities are widening across the country; there is no plan for better quality social care; and public health is being challenged by a cost-of-living crisis. This in addition to existing challenges, like an ageing and growing population.

In short, we stand at a crossroads. We can either maintain the status quo, where health and care is seen as a cost to be contained, or we can adopt a new paradigm, where health and care are the keystones of prosperity and fairness. This conference explored what could be done, in 2022, to take steps towards the latter.

This means a focus 'build back better' really means in health and care - and how we go beyond rhetoric.

Changing and improving healthcare policies has never been more urgent. This event will provide an opportunity to bring together leading figures from national government, local government, the life sciences, charity, and academia to consider our approach to these questions as we approach a new decade.

At this conference we explored:

  • What does a truly universal healthcare system look like, and what solutions do we need to ensure the NHS does not reinforce inequitable trends?

  • How can we create a thriving social care system that works for people’s needs?

  • How can the NHS Long Term Plan adapt to the impacts of COVID-19 and put us back on track for a more resilient NHS?

  • How can we seize upon innovation to create a genuinely 21st century NHS?

  • What long-term solutions are necessary to support the wellbeing and retention of healthcare workers?



Registration and refreshments


Welcome: Harry Quilter-Pinner, Director of Research and Engagement, IPPR


Panel: How can we make progress on inequality?

  • Guppi Bola, consultant strategist focused on building an economic democracy; and former interim director of MedAct

  • Shirley Cramer, Chair, British Future; former Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health

  • Chair: Victoria Poku-Amanfo, Researcher, IPPR


Keynote: Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation


In Conversation: Rt Hon Lord Gus O’Donnell, former Cabinet Secretary and Head of Civil Service


Panel: What needs to happen on workforce?

  • Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Professor of Medical Education, UCL; former President, Royal Society of Physicians; and recent Chair of the Independent Review into Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine in England

  • Sean O'Sullivan, Head of Policy, Royal College of Midwives

  • Dr Tom Gardiner, NHS Doctor and IPPR Health and Care Workforce Assembly Member

  • Lara Carmona, Associate Director, Royal College of Nursing

  • Chair: Annabelle Collins, Senior Correspondent, HSJ




Panel: What does build back better really mean for the NHS?

  • Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and the REAL Centre (Research and Economic Analysis for the Long term), The Health Foundation

  • Mark Kewley, Director, Imperial Health Partners

  • Penny Dash, Chair, NW London Integrated Care System; Vice Chair, King's Fund

  • Chair: Dr Parth Patel, Research Fellow, IPPR


Panel: Beyond a ‘cap and floor’ in social care

  • Fiona Carragher, Director of Research and Influencing, Alzheimer's Society; and former Deputy Chief Scientific Officer, NHS England

  • Anna Severwright, Convener at Social Care Future

  • Richard Sloggett, Founder and Programme Director, Future Health

  • Chair: Chris Thomas, Senior Research Fellow, IPPR


Exclusive screening of Limbo, followed by Q&A with film maker Lotje Sodderland


Drinks Reception (for in-person attendees)



We would be delighted to have you join us. Please register for your place using the form below.

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