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Northumbria trust to enable healthcare innovation

Monday, 21 June, 2021
Northumbria trust to enable healthcare innovation

A North East hospital trust has been chosen as one of 60 national cross-sector partners to help nurture healthcare innovators.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation trust’s hospitals will be used as test and evaluation sites as part of the international NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme and will enable innovators’ ideas to become reality.

The trust will offer opportunities to clinical teams and individuals on the programme to develop their entrepreneurial aspirations and ideas during their clinical training period. This will include the adoption of ideas developed, further refining innovations with the expert input from Northumbria’s outstanding teams and identifying where further opportunities for innovation exist.

Northumbria Healthcare will also look to collaborate and partner with innovations that have the greatest benefit to patients, staff and communities across Northumberland and North Tyneside – and potentially across the north east and north Cumbria integrated care system.

This will build on the trust’s rich innovation culture which has recently seen it invest in a 40,000sqm factory in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, which continues to manufacture PPE for its own colleagues and NHS colleagues in other organisations in the region and further afield.

Sir James Mackey, CEO of Northumbria Healthcare, NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Being able to offer support in such an important and impactful way further reflects our commitment to provide high quality care to patients and to the education and development of colleagues. Nurturing, supporting and giving colleagues the opportunity to really push themselves professionally and personally results in them being more satisfied, productive and happy in their work, and this is then reflected in the care provided.

“At Northumbria we see ourselves as much more than a healthcare provider. We are also very aware of the wider societal responsibilities we have and this programme aligns with these very well in terms of supporting the economy, education, employment and staff wellbeing. We also constantly strive to embed and enable innovation within our trust and being part of a programme which will develop solutions to improve peoples’ treatment or quality of life is fantastic.”

The international programme, which is to be delivered by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), was founded in 2016 and has become the world’s largest entrepreneurial training programme in healthcare, helping to transform patient care across the NHS.

It provides opportunities for internships, access to NHS test and evaluation sites, academic and commercial facilities in Europe, America, Africa and Australia and access to funding and knowledge exchange and connection to customers.

Examples of innovations through the programme include smartphone otoscopes to look inside the ear, and drones designed to carry medical supplies between NHS sites.

In the first four years of the programme, more than 500 clinical entrepreneurs were recruited. Between them, 247 life science start-up companies have been created, more than £270million of funding has been raised through investment largely from the private sector, and more than 30 million patients and users have benefited from the innovations. A new intake of 194 entrepreneurs have recently started, taking the total number of entrepreneurs to over 700.

The programme has seen 134 clinicians returning to work in the NHS (alongside pursuing their entrepreneurial aspirations), and the programme now supports more than four per cent of the life science companies in the UK.

ARU deliver an educational training programme for the entrepreneurs, as well as provide educational events, workshops and mentoring.

Other partners include NHS hospital trusts such as Mid and South Essex, Newcastle upon Tyne, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s, Chelsea and Westminster, Milton Keynes, Bradford Royal Infirmary, multinational companies such as IBM, Deloitte and Unipart, research charities, and innovation and business support networks such as the Biocity group and Medilink Midlands to deliver the programme and create economic growth in the life science sector.

International partners and organisations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland will also be establishing Clinical Entrepreneur Programme Chapters to encourage home-grown life science start-ups.

Professor Yvonne Barnett, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at ARU, said: “The global pandemic has demonstrated how important the UK life science industry is to our nation’s future. COVID-19 tests, vaccines and virtual medical appointments have been a key part of our battle with coronavirus.

“Now we look forward to delivering entrepreneurial education to the NHS nationally, building on our reputation as a regional anchor for health training and one of the largest providers of HE provision for healthcare professionals in the UK.”

Professor Tony Young, National Clinical Lead for Innovation at NHS England and Director of Medical Innovation at ARU, said: “The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme is one of the largest innovation projects in the world allowing patients to be treated with the latest technology.

“It is fantastic that the NHS is able to strengthen its partnership with the life science industry through this programme and create one of the largest life science park networks in Europe, building on the excellent work of creating the biggest vaccination programme in health service history during the pandemic.”

Cara Charlton, Head of PR or 07812 389 963.