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Innovating for better health – research, collaboration and innovation in the NHS

Innovating for better heath – research, collaboration and innovation in the NHS - an NHS Whispers webinar with Bill Gillespie

How and where can innovation drive improvements in care and deliver better health for the population?

How is the NHS looking to collaborate with key partners across industry and academia? What innovations are set to transform care? What role do Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) play and how can partners best engage with them?

On Friday 24th February, Prof Phil Richardson (Chair and Chief Innovation Officer, Mtech Access) was joined by Bill Gillespie (Chief Executive Officer, Wessex AHSN) to explore innovation in the NHS, the role of AHSNs and the potential for greater collaboration across our sector in our latest NHS Whispers webinar.

There are 15 AHSNs across England, set up by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale, improve health and generate economic growth. In this webinar, we sat down with the leader of Wessex AHSN, Bill Gillespie, to learn more about how AHSNs operate, foster collaboration and help innovations to reach their potential across the health and care system.

Phil and Bill discussed:

  • The role of AHSNs
  • Challenges and opportunities in adopting and scaling evidence-based innovations
  • The importance of collaboration in the spread and adoption of innovations
  • Key trends in innovation in the NHS
  • Where innovative technologies are set to transform care
  • How Pharma and Medical Device companies can support the NHS with adopting innovation
  • The role other key stakeholders can play, e.g. universities and research institutions

Here is some more information about some of the examples Bill and Phil discuss during the webinar:

About our speaker

Bill Gillespie (Chief Executive Officer, Wessex AHSN)

Bill has been Chief Executive Officer of Wessex AHSN since 2016. He has over 30 years’ experience in NHS management, with over 20 operating at Board level, either as a Director or Chief Executive. He has worked at every level of the system: from PCT Chief Executive, Health Authority Director, Strategic Health Authority Director to civil servant.

The AHSN focuses on all things that enhance the adoption and scaling of evidence-based innovation. This can range from working with ARC research teams on early thinking about implementation of research findings, to a national leadership role on the scaling of a NICE-approved technology, to understanding and supporting the development of innovation adoption-friendly cultures.

Bill has led the national AHSN roll-out into practice of research on reducing medication errors in primary care and transfer of care around medicines.

Over the past 3 years, joint appointments have been made with Wessex Clinical Research Network (CRN) to support a successful technology support programme aimed at small medium enterprises (SMEs) and local researchers, with Wessex Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) on research implementation, and with the Wessex Cancer Alliance. In addition to support for particular innovators/researchers, the AHSN has a rolling programme of reviews to help its NHS members improve their absorptive capacity for innovation. The AHSN also has a dedicated Insight team supporting local organisations to take an evidence-based approach to innovation adoption and evaluation.

Bill is the lead Chief Officer on behalf of the national network of AHSNs for the Needs Assessment Service within the Accelerated Access Collaborative’s NHS Innovation Service. The Assessment Service undertakes the initial assessment of innovators’ needs and signposts them the most appropriate organisation for ongoing support. Bill has also played a key role in the establishment of Wessex Health Partners, the Academic Health Science Centre for Wessex.

We were delighted to welcome Bill to the NHS Whispers webinar series.

Listen to the podcast:

This episode is also available as a podcast. Listen below or search ‘Pharma Market Access Insights  – from Mtech Access’ on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

This webinar forms part of our monthly NHS Whispers series, in which we have in-depth, comprehensive conversations with senior colleagues from the NHS. We explore what their immediate priorities are, what they see as the greatest challenges currently faced by the NHS, and how the NHS might respond to these challenges.

Our previous webinars are available on demand:

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