15 July 2009

The 'real' NHS innovation websites

Prompted by my thoughts below - I wrote to Lord Darzi. I received this reply today.


Dear Mr Harvey,

Thank you for your email dated 9 July to Ara Darzi regarding innovation in the NHS. I have been asked to reply.

The website that you refer to, namely www.innovations.nhs.uk , is not the flagship site for the Innovation Commitment that came out of the High Quality Care for All report and is not sponsored by the Department or the NHS, nor is it endorsed by either. It is unfortunate that you came across this site. However, I can assure you that progress is currently being made to close it down.

The site that I think you would find more helpful, which is sponsored by the Department of Health and hosted by The National Innovation Centres website, is to be found at www.nic.nhs.uk. Here you will find tools and advice to support innovators at all stages of the Identify, Grow and Diffuse Innovation cycle, as well as a forum for front line clinicians to suggest areas in need of innovation and a collaborative space for solution providers to engage with them. There is also a range of ‘How To’ guides to support innovators which you may find of particular interest.

The ‘Showcase’ section of this site flags recent or soon coming innovations to the service. These, in turn, are fed by the outputs to the Innovation Hubs, the National Innovation Centre, Universities and companies, and will feature the outputs of the Strategic Health Authorities (SHA) Innovation Funds when the outcomes from these new Funds emerge into the healthcare world.

Research conducted during the Next Stage Review highlighted the need for better adoption and diffusion of innovations. In April, the Department launched a series of initiatives to address this, particularly NHS Evidence and SHA Regional Innovation Funds, which I hope will be of interest to you.

The NHS evidence site, www.evidence.nhs.uk, is a one-stop portal bringing together all clinical and non-clinical evidence on treatments, and will better equip everyone in the NHS who makes decisions about treatments or the use of resources, and also patients who want to know more about their care. The evidence will be comprehensive, quality assured and made available both in its original form and through guidelines, pathways, tools and other resources. It will inform patient care, commissioning and service management.

The aim of SHA Regional Innovation Funds is to provide a dedicated pot of money (£220million) to spend on the development and diffusion of new and innovative ideas, reducing the time it takes to get ideas from ‘bench to bedside’. Where funding was not previously available to support, test and pilot new ideas that will deliver better health, better care or better value for the patient, these can now be accessed through the R egional I nnovation F unds . The se funds will also encourage 'open innovation' in the NHS - working with partners from academia, the scientific community, the private sector, third sector and areas to develop joint solutions to healthcare challenges, encouraging collaboration rather than competition.

Other initiatives supporting the adoption and spread of innovation include:

a series of NHS Innovation Challenge Prizes totalling £20million that will be launched later in the year, and will recognise and reward breakthroughs in the provision of health services;

  • a Legal Duty which is now placed upon SHAs to promote innovation. This is the first time any body or organisation has had a statutory responsibility linked to innovation;
  • academic Health Science Centrewhich will bring together world class research, teaching and healthcare delivery so that developments in research can be more rapidly translated into benefits in patient care in the NHS and across the world;
  • better support for the planning and measuring of uptake of pharmaceuticals and, in response, a number of measures will be introduced, and also to simplify how medical technologies pass from development into wider use, and benchmarking and monitoring uptake; and
  • establishing Health Innovation and Education Clusters,phase one 2009/10 has been introduced. We are currently inviting application bids from multi professional partnerships between academia, education, health services and wider industry/ independent sector.

I hope that you will find this information useful and are able to access your local networks in continuing your innovations efforts.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Gatty

Customer Service Centre


A very constructive & useful reply, methinks. So grateful thanks for this information which I am happy to put on this blog.

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