‘En­cour­ag­ing the spread and adop­tion of in­no­va­tion across the NHS’

Yorkshire Post - Business - - FRONT PAGE - Richard Stubbs

Last Thurs­day marked the 70th birth­day of our most cher­ished na­tional in­sti­tu­tion – the NHS. And while the birth­day par­ties that took place up and down the coun­try, in­clud­ing a glo­ri­ous choral cel­e­bra­tion at York Min­ster, show­cased the pride we have in our health ser­vice, it is also clear that the NHS can­not con­tinue to bear the weight of in­creas­ing pres­sures for the next 70 years.

Our health­care sys­tem is stretched to its lim­its as de­mand soars due to many fac­tors, es­pe­cially the rise in peo­ple with long-term health con­di­tions such as di­a­betes and de­men­tia. Teamed with a ris­ing pop­u­la­tion, the obe­sity cri­sis and an in­crease in the older pop­u­la­tion, it is no sur­prise that the NHS is show­ing the strain.

As some­one who has spent a ca­reer work­ing in the NHS, I know that NHS staff are ded­i­cated and hard­work­ing, of­ten in times of im­mense pres­sure and scrutiny. The fact that the sys­tem is buck­ling un­der pres­sure is no re­flec­tion on them. If we are go­ing to have sus­tain­able and af­ford­able health­care in the fu­ture, we have to in­no­vate in or­der to find ways to keep peo­ple health­ier and out of hospi­tal for longer.

Well­be­ing and pre­ven­tion are there­fore be­com­ing the most im­por­tant as­pects of health­care strat­egy. There is no doubt that this agenda needs to be a fo­cus for all gov­ern­ments, as we seek to stop health­care costs from an age­ing pop­u­la­tion con­sum­ing more of our taxes.

In my role as chief ex­ec­u­tive of the York­shire and Hum­ber Aca­demic Health Sci­ence Net­work, I’m pas­sion­ate about en­cour­ag­ing the spread and adop­tion of in­no­va­tion across the NHS and defin­ing a more pro­duc­tive re­la­tion­ship be­tween the NHS and the health­care in­dus­try.

This means the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors work­ing to­gether, us­ing re­search from the very best in the field and then con­vert­ing this knowl­edge into in­ter­ven­tions that will keep all of us health­ier for longer.

One of the best ex­am­ples of this in­no­va­tion, not just in York­shire but on a na­tional and po­ten­tially in­ter­na­tional scale, is the cut­tingedge Olympic Legacy Park (OLP) in Sh­effield, cre­at­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive cen­tre of re­search where these real-world so­lu­tions can be cre­ated, tested and im­ple­mented.

Built on the site of the former Don Val­ley Sta­dium in At­ter­cliffe, the OLP is de­liv­er­ing a legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games which, I hope, will have an im­pact on peo­ple’s lives for gen­er­a­tions to come.

The nu­cleus of aca­demic in­no­va­tion at the OLP is the Ad­vanced Well­be­ing Re­search Cen­tre (AWRC); a “liv­ing lab­o­ra­tory” which is now un­der con­struc­tion.

Set to be the most ad­vanced re­search and devel­op­ment cen­tre for phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in the world, the mul­ti­mil­lion pound cen­tre will pro­vide cut­ting-edge in­door and out­door lab­o­ra­to­ries, staffed by a team of more than 70 Sh­effield Hal­lam Univer­sity re­searchers. They will spe­cialise in a range of ar­eas, in­clud­ing engi­neer­ing, psy­chol­ogy, health­care and sports sci­ence.

It is my hope that, by bring­ing these tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions to life, the AWRC and wider OLP will help peo­ple to live health­ier lives for longer.

The fact that this is hap­pen­ing in Sh­effield is, for me, no co­in­ci­dence. Sh­effield was the birth­place of foot­ball and has been home to many a sport­ing leg­end, from Sebastian Coe through to

Joe Root and Jes­sica En­nis-Hill. Our city re­gion also has more foot­ballers play­ing in the cur­rent Eng­land World Cup squad than any other.

The AWRC and wider

Olympic Legacy Park builds upon this sport­ing her­itage and uses the re­gion’s ex­cel­lence in ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­search to cre­ate some­thing truly trans­for­ma­tive, all while ce­ment­ing the city re­gion’s rep­u­ta­tion as a bea­con of ac­tive, out­doors life.

I look for­ward to play­ing my role in the AWRC be­com­ing a re­al­ity, and to see­ing the Made in Sh­effield hall­mark of ex­cel­lence on the health­care so­lu­tions of the fu­ture. If that means that the NHS can be as trusted and cher­ished for an­other 70 years, then that is some­thing of which I, for one, will be very proud in­deed.

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