Ministers at the Dept. of Health are coming under increasing pressure from MPs over what one former Member of Parliament recently described as the government’s “half-hearted support and lukewarm enthusiasm” for healthcare innovation.
Over the past twenty years, successive governments have emphasised that a proactive approach to innovation is crucial to the efficient and cost-effective operation of the NHS. Under the coalition government, however, financial support - for both innovators and adopters – has been severely curtailed and many of the organisations on whom the NHS relies for expert advice and support face an uncertain future. In the mean-time, MP’s of all parties are concerned that what limited funds have been allocated to healthcare innovation appear to have been awarded to a small number of commercial interests without proper consultation with the sector or any process of due diligence.
Background to Early Day Motion 77
On 14th April this year, John Glen, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Salisbury tabled a Parliamentary Question asking “the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the cancellation of the commissioning for quality and innovation pre-qualification criteria on the uptake of the high impact innovations identified through Innovation, Health and Wealth.” No proper answer has been forthcoming and when Mr Glen then asked “how many NHS trusts have strategies to exploit the commercial advantage of intellectual property developed at the trust; and if he will make a statement?” Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health referred him to “the seven NHS Innovation Hubs, which provide advice and support to trusts relating to Intellectual Property, including securing patents where appropriate.” Unfortunately, Mr Poulter failed to mention that the government withdrew the Hubs public funding more than three year ago.
Early Day Motion 77
The Primary Sponsor of EDM 77 is Virendra Sharma, Labour MP for Ealing Southall, and a member of the Health Select Committee. The Motion, listed on 11th June 2014, reads as follows
“That this House notes that Apposite Capital LLP, The Orchard Down Consultancy Ltd, Mike Farrar Consulting Ltd and the NHS Confederation have raised project funding of almost £1 million from NHS organisations including NHS hospital trusts in England and Northern Ireland to initiate the NHS Accelerator Fund; calls on the Secretary of State for Health to explain why there has not been a public procurement exercise for that fund and to publish the accounts of it to date; and demands that the Secretary of State confirms that the NHS has carried out due diligence on the involved organisations and explain the exact status of the project given the current financial pressures across the NHS.”
NISE and EDM77
Earlier today, when asked for his comments on EDM 77, Derek Wyatt, the Chairman of NHS Innovations South East (NISE) said
“This government has consistently echoed the views of its predecessors in emphasising the crucial importance of effective innovation and adoption to British healthcare. Ministers have also, rightly, praised the highly effective and commercially successful work done by the innovation hubs, of which NISE is one. Unfortunately, however, it would appear that the government’s support is half-hearted and its enthusiasm lukewarm. It withdrew public funding from the hubs almost four years ago without putting any alternative arrangements in place – and it now appears that the intended ‘replacement’ is poorly-funded and has been cobbled-together without consultation or due diligence. We at NISE welcome the concern and interest shown by the MPs who have signed EDM 77 and hope that it will encourage government to put in place a properly thought-out and realistically-resourced healthcare innovation strategy. We at NISE look forward to continuing to play a leading and constructive role in the development of UK healthcare.”
About NHS Innovations South East (NISE)
One of seven regional NHS Innovation Hubs, NISE was established in 2004 in response to the Department of Health’s publication of its new Intellectual Property framework and guidance. From the outset, NISE acknowledged that the organisation’s primary purpose was to benefit NHS patients by “providing services to NHS bodies in relation to the exploitation of all potential and actual IP' and 'facilitating technology transfer.... leading to the introduction of improved healthcare”, with any financial surplus always being reinvested in the company to support these activities.
Over the past ten years, NISE has worked on more than 1,000 healthcare innovation projects. Last year alone, the company registered 126 new inventions; all with the potential to deliver improved patient care and / or better patient outcomes, along with significant savings for the NHS. A number of NISE projects have gone on to achieve substantial national and international commercial success – often in partnership with some of the biggest names in global healthcare. NISE is currently involved in 52 such commercial agreements, with a number of others in the pipeline.
About Derek Wyatt
Formerly the Member of Parliament for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (1997-2010), Derek Wyatt was appointed Chair of NHS Innovations South-East (NISE) earlier this year.
Prior to entering Parliament, Derek worked in publishing, media and new media. He founded and was Director of the Computer Channel at BSkyB from 1995 to 1997.
As an MP, Derek served as PPS to three government Ministers, was a member of the Public Accounts Committee and the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and chaired six all-party committees in the Commons. He was perhaps best known at Westminster for his expertise on the Internet – he was recently described as “one of the pioneers of Internet adoption in the UK”. He founded and chaired the All-Party Internet Group (now the All-Party Communications Group) in 1997 and won four national ICT awards. He was the first MP in the world to have his own App. He also founded the Oxford Internet Institute and A Digital Day (now week) for the Nation.
Today, as well as Chairing NISE, he runs a consultancy business specialising in digital content and strategy. His other personal and business interests include chairing The Great Retail Revival Foundation and Trinity Hospice in Clapham, London. He is a patron of RIBA and a member of both the Advisory Board at the Design Council and the SE Legacy Board for the Rugby World Cup 2015. (Derek played Rugby Union for Oxford University, the Barbarians and England).
Further press information from: Sally Robinson at NISE on 07768302156
Design + Build by Pixelfish