The aim of this horizon scanning exercise is to anticipate and analyse emerging new challenges facing the health care system in England over the next five years in order to provide early awareness of priority areas for effective policy intervention. The exercise also provides guidance on areas where the existing evidence base needs strengthening through research. The project focused in particular on the specific health care issues and possible policy interventions that are expressed in the Health and Social Care Bill, and subsequent responses to it, during 2011.
The horizon scanning activities were undertaken between January and August 2011. It involved both formal and informal search strategies. The formal strategy relied on a keyword-based reviewing process to identify documents making a core contribution, either conceptually or empirically, to current policy. The informal approaches involved browsing the website information of different health care organisations and being alert to ongoing political debates on UK health care reform.