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Meet the Rewired Speaker: James Palmer

05 February 2024

At Rewired 2024, James Palmer, Programme Lead, Population Health Management at Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System, will be taking to the Integrated Care stage on Tuesday 12 March (15.30pm). He will be discussing how the ICS is delivering preventative care for citizens at risk of developing chronic conditions; better supporting patients to manage long-term conditions and using data to identify vulnerable patients.

James will be sharing the Integrated Care Stage with Peter Almond, telehealth head of service, Mersey Care NHS FT; Dr Rosie Kaur, CCIO and deputy chief medical director, Mersey Care NHS FT; Sharon Boundy, director of transformation and digital, NHS Frimley ICB; and Dr Lalitha Iyer, GP and CMO, NHS Frimley Health and Care ICS.

We spoke to James about his upcoming session, and what he is most looking forward to hearing about at Rewired this year.

Q: What will you be speaking about at Rewired? Why did you choose that topic?

A: I’ll be sharing a platform with colleagues from Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Frimley ICS talking about our experiences of delivering prevention and proactive care.

This is such an important area, and one that is often crowded out by the urgent and most pressing challenges around GP appointments, A&E, ambulance responses and waiting lists. But as Patricia Hewett said in her review last year, prevention, population health and tackling inequalities are not nice to do’s; they are key to a sustainable health and care system.


Q: What are you hoping to hear being discussed by other speakers at Rewired this year? Any particular sessions that you’re looking forward to?

A: I’m really looking forward to seeing the ‘Leadership and Teams’ sessions. Change is effortful at the best of times, so investing in the things that will make the biggest difference is a challenge that needs effective sponsorship from senior leaders. How well data and digital enable system transformation depends on leaders with and without technical expertise working together to create a shared vision.


Q: You are nearing your fourth year with the NHS. What has struck you the most since you joined - both in terms of on-going challenges and progress so far?

A: I was attracted to roles in population health because the hallmarks of good planning are the same as they were in my MoD career: trust, shared understanding, and mutual respect between different professional groups. We’ve made great progress in building links between the NHS, local authority, and voluntary sector; it would be great to see more opportunities and encouragement for data professionals, clinicians, and managers to work together on the ground as an even more integrated team.


Q: Do you have a favourite example of how population health management and tech/digital has been used to support people in your region?

In my first NHS role I was briefly involved in setting up the vaccination programme. This was a great example of partners pulling together for a shared goal. More recently the current team has been using data to target pop-up sites in key neighbourhoods. They’ve also teamed up with a GP federation to focus on vulnerable communities and support routine health checks alongside the vaccination effort. The evaluation is showing progress in targeting populations in the most deprived areas and building trust by working with under-served communities.


Q: What are your key priorities this year? 

A: Finance is often the elephant in the room.  Partnership working is an amazing force multiplier, but the need to balance the books can often prioritise short-term gain over long-term thinking.  I believe population health has a lot to contribute to understanding increasing demand, including the impact of preventable conditions and an ageing population. This will help us to make the best decisions today about how we allocate our shared resources most effectively, and which will support the best long-term outcomes for the whole population.


This year, Digital Health Rewired will take place from 12-13 March 2024 at NEC, Birmingham. Several of our customers will be speaking, and Graphnet Health will also have a stand at B20, just inside the entrance. We’re looking forward to seeing you there! 

James Palmer Photo


James Palmer |  Programme Lead, Population Health Management
Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System | NHS Surrey Heartlands