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LIVE: NHS Healthcare Innovation Expo

LIVE: NHS Healthcare Innovation Expo
13 March 2013


The Health Secretary has just announced investment by Johnson and Johnson, best know as a commercial company, into healthcare innovation in the UK. 


The Health Secretary has just announced investment by Johnson and Johnson, best know as a commercial company, into healthcare innovation in the UK. 

Jeremy Hunt said: “They will spearhead a multi-million pound drive to support and develop innovation across the UK. Unlike the big investments of the past, this is about focusing on new ideas, fresh thinking and new products, being flexible and moving fast.”
For Hunt it's very important to “learn the right lessons, in particular avoiding top-down, Whitehall solutions” to solving problems, without “underestimating the size of the task” ahead of the NHS.
Data needs to be made more freely available, the Health Secretary said, adding that “if we are to give patients the care they deserve” clinicians should embrace how technology can improve care by saving time. 
He notes that technology is “a means to an end, not an end in itself”. 
According to Hunt, paperless technology will help frontline clinicians by allowing more than one person to see the information at any given time, meaning that there is no need for a patient to repeat the same information to a number of clinicians and that ambulance drivers would be able to see the full medical history of someone they have picked up.

As Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt comes to the stage, he begins talking about the importance of thinking differently, and harnessing the power of technology for patient experience. 
In this speech, Hunt will be talking about the importance of the NHS going paperless by 2018, and how this could be achieved. 
No one moves from the main stage as the audience prepare to hear the health secretary Jeremy Hunt speak. There's a queue out of the door. 
Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Jane Cummings has announced the launch of a national network for senior nurse leader in commissioning. She says it will act as a “supporting service for innovation in commissioning”. 
Cummings said: “There has been a lot of discussion about nurses in commissioning. We're launching a national network with Royal College of Nursing, based around a strong nursing role in commissioning and making it a good career choice for nurse leaders of the future.” 
The CNO will also be working towards an event which sees over 60 practice nurses working towards the innovations that primary and long-term community care needs. She said: “They don't have the same traditional hierarchy that some other nurses do, which can make them feel quite isolated. 
“We talk about how we can encourage links between them, and talk about changes we can make to put them at the heart of commissioning.”

Caremakers are a concept borrowed from the Olympics Gamesmaker volunteers, but with the aim to create ambassadors for quality care. Cummings shows a video of five student nurses who have signed up to be caremakers. 

The CNO revealed there is a plan to create more than 1,000 caremakers over the next two years. 

She describes caremakers as an “enthusiastic, vibrant community”. 
“[The caremakers] are keen staff who want to see a brighter future for nursing. They helped, supported, worked with us and worked with others. We want them to be able to be in every organisation.” 

When outlining the highs and lows of this year in the nursing profession, Cummings says that although she now has handle on social media and “loved being able to react and speak” with frontline nurses directly, she feels there has been a lot of negative press around the profession. 
She said, of hearing stories from Mid Staffordshire and Winterbourne View: “It's hard to read those stories, it's uncomfortable, as a nurse to read that. 
“It feels in many ways that we have a massive opportunity to tell people about the work that goes on. Nurses around the country feel very frustrated and know we need to reduce the wide variation in the quality of care.”
Have dashed back to the main stage to hear a talk from the CNO.
Cheers erupt as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Jane Cummings  appears on  stage, which only get louder when she says hello to the “caremakers” in the audience. 
The CNO said her talk will be asking whether compassionate care is really the business of nurses, she will explaining the concept of caremakers and update us on the progress of rolling out the  about the 6Cs. 

As soon as you enter the Healthcare Innovation Expo, it's impossible to ignore a cinema-sized wall covered with app logos, as though it's a giant tablet. 

NHS App World, which aims to make healthcare apps more easily accessible to clinicians and the public, was launched today by the NHS Commissioning Board. Some apps are made for clinicans, some aim to help patients managage conditions such as depression or irritable bowel syndrome and some just offer information. 

I spoke to Stella Baum (audio) from, a company which has released four apps with NHS App World today. She believes technology is key to innovation in the NHS. 


Sir Nicholson has announced a series of “high impact innovations” that he says will make a real difference, and that are “so obvious” that they need to be rolled out across the whole NHS. 

The innovations include bringing people together across the NHS to spread good practice quickly, developing the NHS Improving Quality support mechanism, which will be used to spread the “tools and techniques” NHS workers need to be innovative and bringing in Score Cards so that patients will be able to see how the care in their area is. 

After that, he brings up the question of culture. 
“In the Francis report he talks about culture, a positive culture of openness, of getting information out about the good things but also the bad things that happen in the NHS in a pretty straightforward and organised way,” Nicholson said of the report released by Robert Francis QC earlier this year. 
“That is a fantastic culture, we need to work to develop that in the NHS. That is exactly the culture we need to develop and support innovation. That's the culture I think we should promote in the NHS as we go forward. We've got a great opportunity to do that.” 
Nicholson believes that clinical commissioning will alllow the NHS to look at the system in a whole new way. 
To close his speech he said: “I'm absolutely confident we can make a healthcare system in this country that we can all be proud of.”
Sir Nicholson is now outlining “the great challenges” for the NHS over the next few years. 
He said the number of people with long term conditions such as diabetes will be a “massive challenge” for the NHS, and self-care will become increasingly important. 
Over 10,000 people will be attending the Healthcare Innovation Expo over the next two days.
Sir Nicholson says it will be the perfect way for people from all across the healthcare system to learn from each other. Despite the global economic he feels that the NHS can get better, without necessarily spending more money. The way to do that is by increasing innovation, he said. 
“We're going to be taking the NHS forward, not by dramatically reducing the pay, although pay is part of it, but transforming the way we develop healthcare, by changing the way we take healthcare forward.”
Nicholson outlined the measures of a high-performing clinical team: 
  • They measure things, they always want to know how they're doing and they measure it. 
  • They start setting goals for themselves. 
  • They start thinking, how can we compare ourselves with other high performing teams across the NHS? 
To Nicholson, the same applies to health systems, and said that the general approach should not be “how can we cut costs”, adding that if that's “the body language” of the NHS, the future of care does not look good. 
Sir David Nicholson takes the stage, and the previously soft-purple lighting turns a vibrant green. He begins the keynote speech by telling the audience of more than 200 people what he thinks today's expo is for. 
He said: “This is where we show off to people and show off to ourselves what we can do. [The change to clinical commissioning] is the most significant change the NHS has ever been through.”
However, Sir Nicholson did add that making the change from PCT commissioning to CCGs is not easy. He said: “This is a long, arduous road, it's not over yet. Success is not guaranteed, it's about the effort that you put in.”
Close to twenty minutes before Sir David Nicholson starts his talk. The white-mesh walls are sectioning off the  main stage from the rest of the NHS Healthcare Innovation Expo, and the room is full to the rafters. Anticipatory conversation rustles as healthcare professionals and journalists file in. 
The NHS Commissioning Board head's speech – the keynote – is purported to be about innovation and the design and development of the new commissioning system, which will see the introduction clinical commissioning. 
The main questions he'd be expected to answer, however, revolve around whether his role as the head of England's healthcare service is tenable in the long run.

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