A collection of essays exploring hypothetical scenarios for the future of health and care.
Find out more
An expert panel of judges will select the winning essay, which will be published on The King’s Fund’s The NHS if… website. The top prize is £500, plus a free place at a The King’s Fund conference of your choice in 2017. There will be one runner-up, who will receive a free conference place and publication of their essay on The NHS if… website.
The essay competition is open to anyone with an interest in the future of health and care in England. You might work in health and care, or be a student of health policy and management, science communication or wider social and political issues. Or you may be a patient or carer who can use your own experience to help explore a future scenario for the NHS.
The title of your essay is up to you – we don't want to curb your imagination and hope to be inspired by essays on a range of topics from people with a range of perspectives. We just ask that your essay considers the NHS in England, and that it fits under one of the three themes of The NHS if… series: The NHS and society; Medicine, data and technology; and How the NHS works.
Please read The NHS if… essays we've published so far, and check that your essay would fit as part of this series in terms of scope and breadth.
If you'd like some inspiration about potential topics, please see some ideas below (contributed by staff at The King’s Fund) or check out suggestions from followers of @thekingsfund.
Your essay should be between 900 and 1,200 words long. Please submit your essay as a Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, job title and organisation (if applicable), email address, home address and telephone number at the bottom of your essay.
Chief Executive, The King’s Fund
Chris leads the Fund’s work and researches and writes on all aspects of health reform.
Chief Executive, NHS England
Simon heads NHS England, the organisation that leads the NHS’s work to improve health and ensure high-quality care.
Editor in Chief, The BMJ
Fiona has been The BMJ's editor in chief since 2005 and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
Senior Fellow, The King’s Fund
Nicholas works part-time at the Fund on a range of policy projects and is a former public policy commentator at the Financial Times.
Deputy Director of Communications and Information, The King’s Fund
Katie is responsible for the Fund’s website, digital communications and published content.
Director, Shine Cancer Support
Ceinwen is a patient advocate and a trustee of The Point of Care Foundation
Originality of scenario – we are looking for new and original thinking about potential futures for health and care in England. The scenario you explore will need to be within the bounds of possibility, but judges will reward creativity and imagination in how you approach and think through the implications of your chosen scenario.
Quality of argument – judges will consider the extent to which the essay follows through to the logical conclusion of a scenario, and how fully it considers the implications of your scenario for the health system and wider society. Judges will be looking for a balanced article that where possible considers both the positives and negatives of any scenario.
Quality of writing – we are looking for a well-structured, clearly articulated essay. Your essay needs to avoid jargon and should deal with complex and nuanced issues in a way that is accessible to a non-expert reader. Take a look at The NHS if… essays published so far. Your essay needs to fit in as a part of this series and be written using a similar style and tone.
‘The NHS if’ is a collection of essays published by The King’s Fund that explores hypothetical scenarios and their impact on the future of health and care.
We are asking a small number of experts – some of them members of staff at The King’s Fund and others external experts in their fields – to write short essays that consider ‘what if’ questions about health and care in England. We’ll be publishing these essays on this website throughout 2016.
Our aim is to encourage new thinking and debate about possible future scenarios that could fundamentally change health and care. The essays cover three themes: the NHS and society; medicine, data and technology; and how the NHS works.
In each essay, the author gives their informed but personal view of a possible future. We invite you to let us know what you think and join the debate by adding your comments below the essays or by tweeting using the hashtag #NHSif.
If you’d like us to email you each time a new essay is published, please sign up for email alerts.