Walton Centre and NWC AHSN launch innovation platform

A collaborative effort led by the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network has won a Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) grant.

The grant was awarded to the two organisations with the aim of developing a practical framework, to support innovation and create a “culture of curiosity”.

A number of delivery partners from across the NHS, Social Enterprise and Industry will work together to deliver the scheme to embed innovation as a core part of the business within The Walton Centre – the only specialist standalone neurosciences trust in the UK.

The initiative will equip staff with practical skills to help them to establish an environment where innovative ideas are encouraged and adopted to improve patient care.

The collaborative was one of only 45 winners to be awarded RIF funding out of over 600 applications.

Chris Harrop, Chief Executive, Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Our key goals with this programme are to establish a community of innovation enthusiasts and champions that can support each other, promote and share good practice and get behind the take up of innovation. We know that developing and encouraging the spread of innovative ideas leads to improved patient care and a better overall experience and we want to continue to build and develop a culture which embraces and supports innovation.

“Eventually, we would like to get to a place where we’re able to fully embed innovative ideas and concepts which have been supported by the initiative. This will enable us to create a holistic, sustainable, innovation program which offers myriad benefits not only to our Trust, but to the wider healthcare community.”

Organisations feeding into the scheme include community engagement company Good Squared, industry partner 2Bio, Liverpool Community Health and the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network.

The Trust will act as a test for other organisations seeking to embed innovation. A toolkit will be created that will be transferable to other settings and which can be scaled up and rolled out across the NHS.

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the NWC AHSN, said:

“We’re very pleased to be working with The Walton Centre on this ambitious and fresh initiative to maximise and encourage the spread of innovation. Frontline staff are often best placed to come up with new and improved ways of working or ideas for products or concepts which add value or enhance patient experience, so it’s great that the Trust is working to develop a culture where innovation is proactively supported.

“The spread of innovation in the NHS is vital for the long-term success and improvement of our healthcare system so it’s encouraging to see initiatives like this one emerging which bring together and capitalise on the strengths of delivery partners from across the NHS, social enterprise and industry. We look forward to patients, businesses and Trust staff experiencing the tangible benefits which will result from this focus on cultivating and supporting a culture of curiosity and continuous improvement.”

The NWC AHSN is one of 15 academic health science networks in England.

One of its operations involves working as part of the NHS, to enable innovative products to spread quickly and successfully through the NHS, by supporting would-be suppliers with practical and strategic advice and support as they look to tap into the market.

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