For 65 years, the National Health Service
in England has worked at the cutting edge of science to help people recover from illness
and to live longer, healthier lives — then, now and for future generations. Over the years we have invested in, created
and implemented pioneering treatments and technologies, but our biggest innovation has
always been high quality healthcare — free for all at the point of need. Today, NHS England
is creating a culture to deliver the highest standards of care and the best outcomes for
patients. We have in England one of the biggest integrated
health care systems in the world. We developed simple things like the thermometer and the
electrocardiogram. We’ve made a major contribution to science through other more significant
discoveries in some ways such as the double helix of DNA. So we have a massive heritage in this country,
which we should be rightfully proud. In a time of unparalleled challenges, we must
do things differently to continue to deliver on our founding principles. Innovation is the way, the only way, we can
constantly improve to continue to provide high quality care. Innovation in approach,
technology and in structure across the NHS. Innovation that will allow our biggest asset
— our people — to deliver the highest standard of care. Innovation can mean lots of things to lots
of people. The definition that we use for Innovation, Health and Wealth was much much
simpler. It was just about organisations do something they’ve never done before, doing
something new. And that can be changing a care pathway, can be a new technology, it
can be a new medicine it can be new drugs. It can be really really simple stuff as well
as the latest cutting edge technology. We hear a lot of talk at the moment about
cultural change in the NHS and that cultural change I think should embrace a number of
areas. On the one hand, it’s quite clear that we need to make our NHS more patient or even
customer focused in the way that some other healthcare systems are. But equally, I think
the big opportunity for cultural change here is to make innovation everybody’s business. That’s why we are launching the NHS Innovation
Fellowship — a programme that will help us look beyond our own walls and seek fresh inspiration
from some of the world’s greatest innovators. We will be working with leading thinkers from
the worlds of health, business, academia and science, who will act as Fellows, or advisors,
to inspire NHS leaders to champion an innovative culture and place innovation at the heart
of everything we do. So its people who’ve been there, done that,
enormously successful, have a huge amount of experience and knowledge to share and they
want to share that with the NHS, more importantly they want to share it philanthropically, there’s
no charge to the NHS. The NHS Innovation Fellowship will take a
direct and practical approach, with each of our exceptional Fellows working with the NHS
at the highest levels. It would probably recruit no more than 15
to 20 each year. We will probably do it on a rolling cycle over a three-year period,
which would mean that any one time you will have a maximum of about 60 individuals and
the support they can provide to the NHS varies it might be one-to-one mentoring with our
most senior chief executives. It might be that they can attend conferences or they can
attend events that are run by different parts of the NHS or by the Department of Health. To run the Fellowship we will work with a
partner who shares our passion for our nation’s health, and can bring expertise and a fresh
perspective. With the Fellowship we aim to build one of
the world’s most prestigious global healthcare communities – a network of leading experts
working together to make a direct and lasting impact in England and the wider world, to
help us to forge ahead into a bold and healthy future. We are in the middle of a very difficult global
financial crisis, which has impacted on every healthcare system in the world. But actually
I think our NHS is pretty well equipped to deal with that because we are the largest
integrated healthcare system in the world. But we also have a long history of very significant
contributions from the academic sector to the advancement of medical science. I believe
that our NHS provides a unique substrate for us to tackle the problem that our academic
colleagues provide the catalyst to enable that reaction to happen and that the global
financial crisis will turn up the heat and that will bring, I think, accelerated innovative
treatments to the patients of our National Health Service. For more details on the NHS Innovation Fellowship
please visit www.england.nhs.uk/innovationfellowship