Future Advocacy has co-authored Chapter 13 of the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report, which considers what the state of the public’s health in England in 2040 could look like. The report concludes that alongside reasons to be optimistic, it should be easier to take the healthy option, and the use of using emerging technologies is one pathway towards a healthier future and reduced inequalities.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, writes: “The green shoots of a brighter future are already visible in some parts of our health system. Now we need to develop, plan and scale, harnessing technology (including wearables and AI) to support this.”
Olly Buston, Matt Fenech and Mike Parker authored Chapter 13: Data, technology, trust and fairness. It highlights the sheer volume of healthcare data being generated, and the increasing number of healthcare services being delivered through digital tools. The chapter considers the effects of introducing technologies like AI, for example on the doctor-patient relationship, and what degree of algorithmic transparency may be required in this safety-critical sector. Olly and Matt make several policy recommendations, including the need for adequate regulatory frameworks, suitable consent models for patients, and providing ethics support to healthcare staff. They also call for a national conversation about the requirements for a social contract to underpin the successful and appropriate use of AI in health.
Future Advocacy is working with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation on fighting child obesity and fixing the food system. We welcome the Chief Medical Officer’s emphasis throughout the report on tackling health inequalities and the national obesity crisis. For example, Recommendation 4 is for the UK government to “ensure that future developments of the Childhood Obesity plan include a specific target to halve current inequalities in childhood obesity by 2030 or sooner, with support for Local Authorities to meet this target.”
Our team is delighted and grateful to have contributed to such an important document and set of recommendations.