Written by Natalie Goulden, Programme Manager, Greater Manchester CLRN
Last week I attended the NHS Innovation Expo at ExCel, London which provided an opportunity to see how ideas in the NHS can be translated from a ‘light bulb’ moment, through research, into innovations that can be implemented and make a real difference for patients.
I was part of a team demonstrating innovation across NHS North West and the event provided a great opportunity to talk to colleagues from across the country.
Perhaps the major challenge for the next twelve months that came out of the Expo was to ensure that research and innovation stay at the forefront as GP consortia are formed and huge changes take place in the way that care is commissioned .
The Expo featured a wide range of speakers, seminars and exhibitors, all attempting to demonstrate how innovative ideas can improve patient care and increase efficiency in the NHS. Innovations ranged from simple streamlining of services to highly complex technology.
Speakers included: Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health; Sir David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive; Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health; and Ben Page, the Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI.
Andrew Lansley said that the NHS will encourage innovation in three ways: by placing the patient at the centre of decision making about their own care; through a focus on improving outcomes; and by placing power in the hands of local clinicians while getting rid of bureaucracy.
Ben Page of Ipsos MORI reminded the audience that we shouldn’t assume that we know what is important to patients. For example, the vast majority of people surveyed by them would always choose to be treated at their local hospital, rather than travelling to another site, in spite of the choice available to them.
There are real challenges in continuing to maintain high quality health care, innovating and improving that care; and doing all this at a time of rapid change, particularly in primary care.
We need to ensure we meet these challenges and ensure the ‘light blub’ moments continue to deliver real benefits for patients.
Andrew Lansley was interviewed on stage by former BBC News presenter Martyn Lewis