It’s been an exciting first week for me in my new role as Director of the Health Innovation Education Cluster for the South West (HIEC(SW). All of the enthusiasm that was demonstrated during the bidding phase from colleagues in the NHS, universities and industry has continued and several useful conversations have already started.
The first success has been the development of the website (www.hiecsw.org) and , if you are reading this, you must have found us. Many thanks to Kirsten, Pauline and Damien of the Hemingway Corporation for setting this up. The whole development process has taken under two weeks and I hope the web will provide a useful place for you to interact and share ideas and resources. We have set up Twitter and Facebook pages to support the sharing of information and development of our network and we hope these will be useful places to share and debate topics of interest.
We met with the SHA and PCT leads for long term conditions this week to start to understand the scope of our work on self care support. There is a huge amount of evidence of what is possible and what the potential benefits for patients are. The scale of the challenge is huge: Across the South West we serve a community of over 5.1m people and through an NHS workforce of 135,000 together with many other networks and partnerships. We hope to build on enthusiasm and commitment of the leads to support design and implementation of a programme and we will have more on this over the next week.
One of the aims of the HIEC is to work closely with NHS, university and industry partners. We had an initial conversation with Pfizer. Although it is early days, it is clear that by working together to share expertise we have the potential to deliver better outcomes for patients, with improved support for staff and with better value for the taxpayer.
I also met with Hiu Lam, Director of Medical Education, Christina Quinn, Associate Director of Workforce Development and Martin Quinn Academic Services Manager from Plymouth Hospitals Trust. They have formed a small group to work with the HIEC and we will be working to make this mutually beneficial.
On Saturday I was a member of faculty at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement Open School for medical students hosted by University College London. The Open School concept was established by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to introduce undergraduates to the safety and quality agenda. It was great to see teams from both the University of Bristol and PCMD joining this group of 150 students and I hope that Trust’s will want to harness their insight, energy and enthusiasm to support work on safety and the Quality Innovation Productivity Prevention plans (QIPP).
Next week we will be working on our second project – working with Tim Draycott and team at North Bristol to develop the obstetric dashboard. A lot of work has already been done to define the measures that matter most to safe care. The aim of the project is to make the data available and ensure that the resources are in place to act on information.
I’ve mentioned ‘we’ a few times. The HIEC(SW) is working from the Dean’s office at University of Bristol Medical School. Carolyn Donaghue is working as part time business manager for the HIEC and is doing great work to set up systems to support our work and we will let you know more about this shortly. Our steering board consists of Professor Peter Mathiesson, Dean of University of Bristol Medical School, Professor Peta Foxhall from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), Derek Sprague from NHS South West and Carolyn and I. We will be looking for an NHS and industry member too and more news on that will be available soon.
Finally, I was lucky enough to attend the NHS South West Board briefing on the White Paper. There are clearly many questions to answer to make the most of the opportunities presented. Sir Ian applauded the audience for what has been achieved across the South West since 2006. Taking a moment to reflect, there is a huge amount to be proud of and I think we can be confident we can start to take the next steps building on more solid foundations than most.