Why the 70-year-old NHS is raring to go

In the last year we saw an upsurge in the number of health innovations and in the ability of the NHS to adopt and embrace change and innovation.

There has also been increasing interest from the public in what the NHS is doing with new technology, apps and sensors.  Over the Christmas break Professor Tony Young, a urology surgeon who is NHS England's Director of Innovation, was on BBC Breakfast talking about the benefits of innovation in healthcare.  He demonstrated a small gadget which he'd attached to his back, connected to an app to help correct his posture and cure back pain, the Upright Pose app. And he talked about a Clinical Entrepreneur who had developed augmented reality technology that helps surgeons get remote assistance and training from anywhere in the world, including war zones - Proximie. There were also many articles in the press about the wonderful innovations that can support both staff and patients to have a better experience and a better outcome from NHS care.

In our region we have seen more people wanting to be Innovation Scouts and Clinical Entrepreneurs and to embrace the changes that are helping us to run healthcare in a more compassionate and effective way.

Our Innovation Agency Partnership Board has been boosted by additional NHS leaders who want to work with us and inform a lively debate about which innovations can be adopted in the region.  Our universities are embracing innovation and including this in their curriculum for students who thinking about healthcare as a career.  And nationally, AHSNs are seeing their new contracts being negotiated with a renewed focus on the rollout of nationally funded innovations as well as on deploying innovations developed locally.

We are now in the 70th year of the NHS and while we celebrate all the fantastic innovations which have helped to make our health service the envy of the world, we should also celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit which keeps pushing us to explore new ways of doing things, even during the most challenging of times. This is one 70 year old who is working harder than ever – and still raring to go.

I am very excited about the year ahead and looking forward to working collaboratively to make changes which will benefit working practice and most importantly, the health and wellbeing of our population. Happy new year.



Posted by: Dr Liz Mear, on: 05 January 2018