Published: Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
NHS launches innovation fund at National Hospital
Patients to benefit from pioneering technology
Health Secretary Alex Neil has launched an ambitious new national health and social care innovation fund, which aims to raise millions of pounds, to develop original and pioneering treatments for Scotland’s patients.
Launching the fund at the NHS Event, Mr Neil said it would promote current innovations within NHS Scotland and support the development of new ideas.
The Golden Jubilee National Hospital will work on behalf of the whole NHS in Scotland to raise funds from a variety of sources, including donations and European grants.
The fund will not be used for mainstream services or research activities that are currently funded through existing routes. Instead, it will support initiatives that create and turn excellent ideas into services for patients.
This means that the people of Scotland will get better and quicker access to world-leading care as the fund makes the early roll-out of proposals possible.
It is also intended that the fund will support new ways for people to record and monitor their own health through the use of new technologies that puts people more in control of their own health.
Announcing an initial £100,000 to establish the fund, Mr Neil said: “There should be no doubt that innovations have the power to improve the health and lives of many Scottish people.
“I’ve been fortunate to see for myself some of the ground-breaking work already happening in our NHS and meet some of the people who are developing new and better treatments for patients.
“This dedicated fund is about giving those innovators the support they need to turn their excellent ideas into world-leading health services for the people of Scotland.
“Scotland is already leading the way on harvesting the innovations in our NHS. We have also made significant progress on developing and expanding new technologies fit for our twenty-first century healthcare service.
“To build on this achievement the NHS needs to put innovation at the heart of everything it does.
“We stand on the brink of a revolution in health with new types of medicines, new health and communications technologies, and new thinking about how to make care suit the needs of every patient.
The fund will help Scotland stays at the forefront of this. It has the ability to raise millions to drive forward innovation in Scotland’s NHS.”
Jill Young Chief Executive of the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, said: “As the country’s flagship hospital, we are dedicated to leading quality, research and innovation for NHS Scotland.
“At the Golden Jubilee, we have an excellent track record in innovation, paving the way with pioneering concepts in treatment and research for the people of Scotland. We are very excited about the possibilities and potential that the future holds as we move onto our next chapter as a national resource for the NHS in Scotland.”
The fund is part of wider efforts to improve quality and efficiency in the health service and offer patients access to state of the art technology.
It will be managed through the innovation partnership board, made up of senior NHS and Scottish Government staff, industry leads and academics.
The new fund follows Mr Neil’s announcement to parliament in March this year that £10 million will be invested in pioneering telehealth and telecare technology. He confirmed today that this would be used to support 300,000 older people to have access to the modern technology they need to stay in their own home.
The Innovation Partnership Board will make sure there is quick and widespread take up of innovations that make a big difference across Scotland as well as give money to health boards to enable them to support their staff bring ideas forward.
Health boards may set up 'innovation cafes' or 'innovation clinics' that offer staff concrete help to turn their ideas into workable solutions - often a major stumbling block.
The initial £100,000 funding will allow the Golden Jubilee National Hospital to put in place an infrastructure of staff and investment portfolios to source the fund.
There will be open a rigorous governance around all aspects of the fund, including the criteria used to decide which innovations to support to be taken forward.
Priority areas where there is the greatest need for innovation will be important in deciding where to allocate the funds.
The fund will enable ideas where there is a proof of concept but not evidence of benefits to NHSScotland patients to be tested