Digital Transformation Post COVID-19: Remote Doctors, Schools, Police And Prisons By 2030 In The UK

Digital Transformation Post COVID-19: Remote Doctors, Schools, Police And Prisons By 2030 In The UK

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a digital transformation never seen before in traditionally reluctant public services and sectors. Healthcare, education and the police force are just a few of those that has been disrupted by this pandemic.

The long-lasting effects of lockdown are apparent in a new survey by global software consultancy ThoughtWorks as many envisage a world where key services are operated remotely.

Asking a nationally representative sample of over 2,000 people how the public services will have changed by the year 2030, almost a third (30%) expected they would speak with their GP predominantly online, a quarter (23%) could see children doing their schooling remotely, and one in seven (15%) anticipate the police using data to monitor and intervene before crimes occur.

Surprisingly, even prisons were considered a service that people could see being done remotely – one in 20 (4%) believed prisoners would be monitored remotely in their homes.

The results found that it was older generations that were more likely to anticipate a remote working world. Among those over 50, the proportion anticipating online GP appointments rose to 38%, while 28% anticipated online school classes.

How tech will change the way people use the public sector services in 10-years’ time

Total 18-30 31-50 51-65 66+
I will speak with by GP via Skype/Whatsapp video/FaceTime / video call 30% 23% 27% 38% 31%
Online medical passport with family history, own health history, NI number, address all in one place 27% 20% 24% 32% 33%
Public transport will become more reliable, usable and integrated into daily life 26% 23% 22% 30% 29%
Children will do their schooling online / remotely 23% 15% 21% 28% 28%
Improved online technology for diagnosis 22% 14% 23% 24% 25%
Technology will automatically re-order my medicines 22% 17% 21% 25% 24%
Tax & benefits will be automatically assessed by technology 21% 17% 24% 21% 20%
Central government will be massively reduced, with more decisions made in communities and local authorities based on locally-relevant   data and insights 19% 16% 15% 20% 26%
Wearable technology will tell me when I need to see a doctor 17% 16% 15% 18% 19%
I will have one identity through which covers all my health, money and legal status 17% 14% 14% 20% 19%
Tax will be paid in accordance with my actual usage of public services 16% 16% 15% 16% 18%
I will be able to access all my services in a single App 15% 14% 18% 16% 10%
The police will monitor activity and intervene before crimes occur 15% 15% 13% 17% 16%
I will be able to personalise the public services I need and pay for based on my own needs 15% 15% 15% 14% 15%
Machine learning to assess each individual patient to personalise the treatment and experience 10% 12% 11% 9% 9%
Local government won’t exist, everything with be done centrally 8% 8% 7% 8% 10%
Hospitals will see robots replace front line nurses 7% 10% 5% 5% 8%
Prisons will no longer exist as prisoners will be monitored remotely in community-based facilities or their homes 4% 8% 5% 2% 2%
None of the above 16% 15% 15% 16% 20%


As well as public services operating remotely, the results showed that:

– People expected a public service that would be significantly more personalised and automated.

– One in six (16%) believe people will be able to pay tax in accordance with their actual usage of public services.

– In addition, many anticipated a degree of streamlining would take place. A quarter (27%) anticipate having a medical passport with family history, health history.

– A further 17% anticipate having a single account covering details of health, money, and legal status.

More broadly, one in four (19%) see central governments massively reducing with more decisions based on insight from data.

David Howell, Portfolio Director – Public Sector at ThoughtWorks, commented“Crystal ball gazing says more about the present than it does the future. Through the situation that we currently find ourselves in, many have shifted up a gear in regards to their daily use of technology. People have become closely connected to the possibilities of what technology can offer, and how it can enhance their lives. This has done huge amounts to improve their levels of trust in it, and in turn, has significantly raised expectation levels.”

“The consequences of this are that anything that does not meet the new standard quickly looks out of date and unfit for purpose. In many ways, the world looks very different to how it did in 2010 when many of the things that we now take for granted did not even exist. In order to keep up with this phenomenal rate of change, considerable investment is needed to ensure that public services remain up to the standard that taxpayers demand – from open source development, products and services that are putting users at the centre of solution design – as well as saving money in the long-term.”