Healthcare businesses across the United Kingdom (UK) are set to see significant changes as the nation moves towards a more inclusive future. The government’s Levelling Up agenda seeks to address regional disparities in healthcare with its primary focus on improving access to services and reducing health inequalities across the country.

This article will provide an insightful overview of how the Levelling Up agenda will impact UK healthcare, including key elements of this initiative. We’ll also cover the potential impact on businesses in the healthcare industry and how organisations can navigate these new opportunities and potential challenges.

What are the goals of Levelling Up?

The Levelling Up Agenda was unveiled on February 2, 2022. It seeks to create a fairer, more equal society by addressing the regional inequalities between different parts of the country. It includes objectives to help people access the opportunities they need to thrive, regardless of where they live. And it aims to create opportunities for economic growth and improve the quality of life for people in disadvantaged areas.

The government established the following steps to achieve the goals of Levelling Up.

  1. Increase private sector growth, particularly in underperforming areas, to enhance productivity, pay, employment, and living standards.
  2. Enhance public services and expand opportunities to improve overall access and quality of life, especially in places that experience the most significant deficiencies.
  3. Reestablish a sense of community, local pride, and belonging, particularly in areas that have lost these feelings.
  4. Provide local agency and leadership to communities to empower them to take charge of their own development.

What is the Levelling Up mission for healthcare?

Within the above-mentioned steps, the government defined twelve missions that it hopes and plans to accomplish over the next decade and beyond. Of the missions, the most significant statement related to healthcare proclaims, “By 2030, the gap in healthy life expectancy (HLE) between local areas where it is highest and lowest will have narrowed, and by 2035 HLE will rise by 5 years.

This Levelling Up mission for healthcare provides a long-term strategic plan to improve the population’s health by reducing health inequalities in underserved areas. Achieving this objective involves improving access to healthcare services, promoting healthy lifestyles, and addressing social determinants of health such as poverty and deprivation. It promises to ensure people receive the care they need through collaboration and commitment from all stakeholders, including the government, healthcare providers, and local communities.

However, how well and how much the government is able and willing to invest in healthcare will become one of the most significant determining factors for the success of this mission and the Levelling Up agenda. According to Jo Bibby, Director of Health at the Health Foundation, “Health and wealth are inextricably linked. Government policy must now recognise this and create the social and economic conditions needed to give everyone in the country the opportunity to live a healthy life.”

How do the agenda’s key elements impact healthcare industry businesses?

The Levelling Up Agenda in the UK can potentially create a ripple effect on the healthcare industry. The emphasis on creating greater access to healthcare results in the need for expansion of services, facilities, and equipment.

With the implementation of the agenda’s goals and missions, the healthcare industry and National Healthcare Sector (NHS) looks to be impacted in the following ways.

  • Investments in infrastructure to improve healthcare services by providing new and improved facilities
  • Higher-level training, education, and skills for healthcare workers
  • Innovation and research to improve healthcare services
  • Increased job opportunities across all levels of skills and expertise in healthcare
  • Improved digital infrastructure and application of new technologies

Opportunities for the Healthcare Industry

In a survey, 73% of business leaders envision themselves as playing a crucial role in the delivery of the Levelling Up agenda. In the healthcare industry, new business opportunities may emerge through the agenda’s movement toward infrastructure development, research, and innovation.

Investment Potential

As the agenda focuses on expanding economic growth, supporting long-term economic recovery, and creating job opportunities in communities across the UK, it will likely lead to increased investment in healthcare businesses.

Collaboration Opportunities

The agenda may encourage healthcare providers to work with public institutions, including local authorities, educational institutions, and charities, to improve health outcomes.

Enhanced Talented Pool of Workers

The agenda may increase the participation of young people in healthcare-related industries. Its policies may help attract and retain skilled workers in the NHS.

Challenges Resulting from the Levelling Up Agenda

While much hope and anticipation follow in the wake of the release of the government’s Levelling Up white paper, the auspicious targets outlined in the document may create challenges for businesses in the following areas.

  • Investing in training, digital infrastructure, and upskilling employees to remain competitive
  • Existing and future budget constraints slowing overly ambitious agenda goals
  • The widening gap of health inequalities between poor and affluent regions
  • Current workforce shortages, particularly in nursing and healthcare assistant roles
  • Implementing innovative and cost-effective ways to address the requirements of the Levelling Up agenda

Tips for UK Healthcare Businesses to Thrive in the Levelling Up Agenda

Healthcare businesses have recently had to navigate the complex and evolving landscape of NHS privatisation. Now it must also understand how to get healthcare contracts and medical supply contracts within the parameters of the Levelling Up Agenda.

To do so, healthcare leaders should consider the following tips.

  • Identify opportunities for investment
  • Focus on developing innovative solutions that address the needs of the regions targeted by the Levelling Up Agenda
  • Build strong relationships with government agencies and other key stakeholders to increase the chances of securing healthcare contracts and healthcare tenders that meet the needs of the Levelling Up Agenda
  • Align products and services with government priorities
  • Leverage procurement solutions for the healthcare sector by researching available solutions and submitting competitive bids

Excel Within the UK, European, and Global Procurement Marketplace

Health Contracts International (HCI) can help your business find and respond quickly so you can win more healthcare contract opportunities. Learn more about how we can accelerate your growth and increase your share of the healthcare marketplace. Request a free demo today!