Prevention top of the agenda when Steve Brine MP visited Luther

We were delighted to welcome Steve Brine MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, recently for a roundtable hosted by Managing Director Simon Whale. In a wide-ranging discussion, Steve took contacts and clients through the work of the Committee and the wider challenges in health and care policy. Here are Simon’s key take-aways from the discussion:

With the Primary Care Access Plan published last month, and the NHS workforce plan due soon, Steve Brine made a timely visit to Luther’s office. Elected Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee in November 2022, and having served as a Minister at DHSC, Steve gave clients and contacts valuable insights into where he sees the future of health policy going.


Launched in January 2023, the prevention in health and social care inquiry is quite different from the traditional and familiar inquires select committees hold. Bringing together 10 separate workstreams, ranging from housing to gambling, Steve discussed how prevention can, and should, be seen as an issue dealt with by every Government department. Preventing ill health is not the sole responsibility of DHSC and the NHS; it requires multiple Government departments, public bodies, local authorities and others working cohesively to promote and facilitate healthy living. Ambitious? Yes. Necessary?  Certainly, not least to ensure the long-term sustainability of the NHS.

Steve said that there is an opportunity for a huge range of organisations to make submissions to the inquiry. The Committee is interested to hear from those who may not have given evidence before, but have a view on how prevention can be better embedded in policymaking.

Questions from attendees focused on what more health and care organisations can do make the case for a greater emphasis on prevention in health and care policy. For Steve, it’s about persistence. With NHS spending increasing faster than GDP growth, organisations should continue to make the case to Government that a concerted effort on prevention is one of the only ways to sustainably alleviate NHS pressures.

The wider work of the Committee:

Steve gave insights into the progress of other inquiries the Committee is undertaking. The assisted dying / assisted suicide inquiry has provoked strong views. It has received one of the highest number of responses to any select committee inquiry in history. Even the description of the inquiry had to be carefully managed to reflect the sensitive nature of the subject.

Meanwhile, the NHS dentistry inquiry, currently taking oral evidence (no pun intended), could be hugely significant. Steve described how parliamentarians across the House consider the availability of dentists to be one of the most pressing issues for the NHS, with the inquiry well-placed to offer solutions.

Workforce Plan:

When it came to the NHS workforce plan, the question on everyone’s mind is when we can expect to see it. Giving insight into his time as a Minister, Steve described how intense negotiations are ongoing between the DHSC, Treasury, No.10, and NHS England. Workforce is chief among the challenges for the NHS, with the Plan presenting an opportunity for the Prime Minister to make inroads on his priority to cut NHS waiting lists.

Not to forget, the Plan is coming after plans for primary care, urgent care, and patients. Steve said that sequencing is vital; the Government’s aspiration is to tie all of these plans together with a holistic view of the priorities and solutions to the challenges facing health and care.


Health and care at Luther:

At Luther Pendragon, we work with a wide range of organisations in health and care, including NHS England, the DHSC, regulators, Government-commissioned Reviews and Inquiries, Royal Colleges, professional bodies and representative associations, charities and patient groups, and providers of health and care services. We help our clients define and articulate their messages to their stakeholders in the most effective ways and at the right times.

Our understanding of the health and care world, and our network across it is broad and deep.

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