At a Glance: NHS launches innovation institute

Do you mean the NHS Modernisation Agency?

From today (1 July) the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement replaces three NHS bodies: the NHS Modernisation Agency, NHS University (NHSU) and the NHS Leadership Centre.

What will the new organisation do?

Encourage best practice in healthcare provision, focusing on technology, service transformation, product innovation, leadership development and education. It plans to work closely with patients, clinicians, NHS bodies, the independent sector, academics and business to identify and communicate new ideas. It also aims to maximise returns from the NHS's annual £4bn training programme.

Whoosh. Anything else?

The institute will also incorporate the National Innovation Centre, a forum for the pharma industry and the NHS to look at concepts and new ideas. It will work on developing specific products - but not medicines.

Doesn't it all sound rather like a glorified talking shop?

If that's the case, it's an expensive one: £80m has been made available to fund it. The emphasis is on supporting the rapid adoption and spread of new ideas by providing guidance on practical change. Based at the University of Warwick, it will have the status of a Special Health Authority.

Who is handling its comms?

Sally Aldous, the Department of Health's PRO, says that no comms structure has yet been established. It is not known whether Tamsin Rosewell, comms director at NHSU, will have a place in the new set-up, for example.

How will the institute work?

It will have five teams working on priority programmes - set by the DoH in consultation with stakeholders - that might include delivery of the 18-week maximum waiting target or personalising care for people with long-term conditions. Work on these programmes will have a set time limit in which to deliver agreed results, before the teams move on to the next tasks.

- Further information

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