Simon Stevens announces winners of £2.5m Regional Innovation Fund

Forty six NHS organisations have received a share of a £2.5m fund to help change patients’ lives and improve care through innovation.

The winners of NHS England’s Regional Innovation Fund were announced today by Chief Executive, Simon Stevens at the Managers in Partnership Conference 2014.

The £2.5m fund was launched in April to support and promote the adoption and spread of innovation across the NHS. It provides opportunities for clinicians to work in new ways driving innovation which can change patients’ lives.

Organisations could apply for sums up to £50,000 for individual applications and up to £250,000 for those working collaboratively. They include helping ‘home’ the homeless when they leave hospital, home testing for HIV and perfecting depression care.

Mr Stevens said: “Once again frontline clinicians and NHS managers are proving that – given the chance – the NHS can be one of the most innovative health services in the world.”

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital received money for their rehabilitation project for patients with upper gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, which include stomach, pancreatic and esophageal tumours. Evidence suggests that exercise and weight control can improve survival, but often patients are not offered the support to achieve this.  The project addresses these issues and gives cancer survivors the opportunity to attend rehabilitation and get direct support to get back to as normal a life as possible.

Elaine Gossage, Lead Nurse for Cardiology and Respiratory Medicine, said: “We’re delighted to receive this grant from the Regional Innovation Fund which will really help with the development of a much needed rehabilitation service for our upper GI patients.”

Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with Community Housing Aid, received money for their project ‘Bay6’. Its aim is to prevent people being discharged from hospital as homeless and acts as a mediator between the hospital medical staff, social services/housing agencies and the voluntary sector to rapidly speed up the patient’s discharge into safe and secure accommodation. As a result, hospital medical staff are freed up and beds are released more quickly for other patients. Readmission through A&E can also be reduced.

Bids for the Regional Innovation Fund were invited from all NHS organisations, including acute trusts, Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), and Clinical Commissioning Groups. Organisations were also encouraged to work with their health and social care partnerships to collaborate on the development of their bids.

More than 600 organisations applied for money from the fund to invest in new, innovative practice or to develop existing areas. Of the 600 application, 46 winners were chosen and awarded money to invest in their idea.