What are the key external macro issues impacting leaders in the health and social care sectors – and what do they mean?

The health and social care sectors have experienced a turbulent previous 12 months, with indications suggesting that the next year will be just as, if not more, unsettled.

Challenges facing employees from the grass roots to the boardroom impact on a daily basis. However with each change comes an opportunity for organisations to take advantage of the situation and use it to their advantage, as well as to act now to pre-empt potential negative implications.

Through analysis of a variety of cited sources referenced below, Compass Executives have examined a number of key political, economic, social, legal and technical macro factors which leaders in the health and social care sectors are facing, with the opportunities and threats attributable for each.


There have been a number of hugely impacting political events leading up to May 2017, including “Brexit”; the US Presidential Elections; and the French Presidential Elections; whilst around the corner next month, the General Election will be held in the UK, whilst elections in Germany are taking place in late September, early October this year too.

“Brexit” in particular will have repercussions within the health and social care sector from an employment perspective:

US Presidential Election results are impacting how the UK health and social care markets are viewed from an investment perspective:

French and German Presidential Elections are also important political events to consider:

UK General Election – the build up to the elections has seen political debate bringing to attention a number of issues in both health and social care across the United Kingdom, with promises made across all parties in readdressing these:

What does this mean? As a result of a weakened Pound (£) after the results of the UK EU referendum (now referred to as “Brexit”), the UK became attractive to foreign investors for M&A activity. Conversely, for UK based H&SC business, can the declining strength of the Pound impact the asset value overall? There is a real chance for businesses to strengthen through expansion and growth, but timescale will be restricted as the Pound strengthens, and the impact of staffing for the H&SC remains a real issue: how will senior management ensure the required flow of employees into the organisation continues, when 17% of ASC comes from either the EU or further afield? Will this have a negative impact on the CQC rating if you are suffering from staff shortages? There are numerous political events taking place at the moment which will have consequences across H&SC in the immediate future.


There has been much clear documentation of the economic frailty within the health and social care sectors for many years. As previously mentioned, political parties competing in the UK General Election in June have committed to giving more financial support should they became the next governing party, but there are also a number of key economic factors which have happened, are in the process of happening, and will happen in the next 12 months which will also impact an organisation:

National Living Wage (NLW) increasing in April 2017 and again later this year, with further incremental increases leading up to 2020: 

Insurance Premium Tax Increase in June 2017

Spring Budget

CQC Fee Changes for providers

Changes to Apprenticeship Funding in May 2017

What does this mean? Whilst the introduction of increasing the NLW can encourage more people into the H&SC sectors – where there are documented staff shortages – and the fact that a number of political parties are committed to increasing funding for the H&SC sectors is a positive step for many organisations. Is this enough? It’s unlikely that the funding will cover all day-to-day business requirements, and the threat of staff moving companies for a higher salary remains high. Opportunities to use this extra funding to enhance employee engagement through qualifications, rewards and similar can help retain staff, but having a clear financial understanding of where your business is at, is vital to ensure these costs don’t bankrupt the organisation.


There are numerous social macro factors which will impact the leadership teams of any H&SC organisation. Whilst issues such as an ageing population and an ageing workplace impact society as a whole, these issues represent huge challenges to the H&SC industries – what is being done at present to anticipate, address and prepare for these future impacts?

Government Green Papers 

Challenge on Dementia 2020

Ageing workplace

Ageing population

Turnover rates for social care sector

What does this mean? Any public discussions around future funding of H&SC can only be a good thing – and it is vital to be addressing the issues of an ageing workforce and population. Likewise, the target of becoming the best place in the world for dementia research and treatment is admirable, provided the steps are put in place now to ensure this happens. The opportunity to contribute towards government green papers to say exactly what needs to be done to help your organisation is a great opportunity. Looking at contingency plans for recruitment and addressing staff shortages through incentives must be addressed now.


In addition to the numerous points previously raised, the legal macro factors are vital to be adhering to, as well as looking at forthcoming legal requirements which your H&SC organisation must be compliant with. Failure to adhere these laws can have a severe impact to your organisation as a whole.


CMA (Competition and Markets Authority)

What does this mean? Remaining compliant with the new GDPR rules means that H&SC organisations will be able to target audiences who have opted-in to receive marketing, fundraising, news or similar, whilst in-house recruitment teams will be able to target solely interested candidates, provided they have complied with the legal requirements to obtain the necessary personal information. However, failure to comply with the new laws and lack of understanding of changes can have long-reaching impact to the firm, most notably through financial sanctions. The need to prepare is vital.

Technological The speed in which technology is evolving is dramatic, particularly over the last 10 years. There is evidence to support the fact that technology, particularly bringing your organisation up to date digitally, can have a revolutionary impact on the health and social care sectors. Below are several key technological macro factors which are impacting leaders in H&SC at present:

Digital Healthcare: PLATFORMS and APPS 

Comparison sites for care

What does this mean? Much has been spoken about how technology can help lift the strain off the NHS, whilst individually, it provides opportunities for businesses to update themselves digitally to enhance their presence and reach both UK wide and worldwide. That said, as we have seen in recent times with the accidental cyber attack on the NHS, security – especially loss of data – is a chief concern, whilst getting an ageing population to adopt these more modern practices could potentially be time-consuming. Cost will always remain an issue to smaller organisations, but with the growing need to adopt and adapt to digital changes: is this an issue H&SC organisations can afford to ignore?


Whilst the above is by no means a complete comprehensive guide on all the macro factors which have impacted, are currently impacting, and will impact health and social care senior management leaders in the sector, it does serve to show some of the issues which can impact the business in the next 12 months.

At Compass Executives, it is our job to discuss these issues, and more, to ensure future leaders in the health and social care sectors are anticipating, planning and preparing to act against these potential threats, and to use these issues as opportunities to strengthen the organisation.

Call us today to see whether we might be able to assist bringing talented leaders to your company: 0207 887 6115

Macro factors impacting health and social care
Identifying and addressing the key political, economic, social, legal and technological issues facing senior management in the health and social care sectors