KPMG comments on NHS England’s launch of the ‘healthy towns’ initiative

KPMG comments on the ‘healthy towns’ initiative

Matthew Custance, partner for healthcare, comments on NHS England’s initiative to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis.

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Matthew Custance, KPMG partner for healthcare, says: “In 2012, the UK was the third least physically active nation in Europe, while Greece and the Netherlands were among the most active. One of the key differentiators is the incentive to use walking or cycling as a means of transport. In existing UK towns, there is often insufficient road space to create really safe cycle and walk ways. The development of new towns does offer that advantage.

“Today’s announcement by Simon Stevens refers to ‘technology enablement’ and there’s no doubt that services can be delivered more cheaply and efficiently through the use of technology. The development of a new town offers the opportunity to build that capability into every home. In reality the cost of this is relatively low, with the option to install a smart box in a home for around £200.  

“The bigger challenge will be adapting the NHS around this technology. Many GPs do not able to offer videoconference appointments, and most of the NHS cannot yet be meaningfully accessed online. Community health is largely a visiting service despite the technology being available for remote monitoring. Of course, there is something ironic in encouraging more physical activity while simultaneously enabling people to access GPs from their sofas.

“Aside from the health aspect, the announcement that 76,000 new homes will be built as part of this initiative is a welcome one. Currently, the UK needs to build 250,000 homes a year to meet need.”


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KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 12,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £1.96 billion in the year ended September 2015. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 155 countries and has 174,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. 

About the healthcare team

KPMG’s healthcare team works with healthcare policy-makers, commissioners, providers and regulators, national and local government, private and public companies, financial institutions and investors. For more information, visit 

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This article represents the views of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views or professional advice of KPMG in the UK.

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