Innovation Expo – What’s in it for us?

On March 3 and 4 NHS England will host one of the most important events in the health calendar.  The Health and Care Innovation Expo, being staged at Manchester Central, will bring together more than 10,000 people who want to work to change and improve the NHS and care services for all. 

Dr Mike Bewick, GP and Deputy Medical Director for NHS England, explains why local government colleagues are not just a ‘nice to have’ but are central to achieving long-term, sustainable change for the benefit of the communities we serve.

As a GP who has worked in both acute and primary care in Cumbria for over 20 years, I know too well the pressures facing colleagues across the country.

In my profession alone, GPs see over one million people every working day, the average patient visits their doctor just over five times a year, and the demand for services across the system, including general practice and wider primary care, continues to rise.  The number of people aged 65 or older is expected to be around 16 million in 2030, and those likely to require care is predicted to rise by over 60 per cent by 2030.

These figures are not lost on local government colleagues.  Set alongside the existing 70 per cent of the health and social care spend that is allocated to the 15 million people with long term conditions, doing nothing is not an option.

We know good management of long-term conditions keeps people from having to go to hospital. We know better patient education, multi-disciplinary teams and patient-centred care delivered in partnership with social care colleagues all help reduce complications and keep people well for longer.

Yet long term conditions and the management of complex health needs remains one of the biggest challenges faced by the NHS today.  And the knock on effect for local government is huge.

Improving continuity of care and meeting people’s needs to ensure health and care professionals provide a wider range of services, in and closer to people’s homes must be our number one priority.  And local health and wellbeing boards which bring together health, public health, social care and local leaders are critical to success.

We know the major levers over health – keeping individuals and communities fit and well – lie largely outside of the health service and sit in local government.

We in the NHS must take advantage of the depth and breadth of expertise that spans local government: public health, health protection, social care, transport, housing, education and regeneration and the environment to grasp the problems and develop new innovative solutions.  There are many examples out there but the trick here is to apply that best practice and the latest evidence of effectiveness and roll it out on an industrial scale for the benefit of every patient in every borough, in every part of the country, all 15 million.

We must work together as one system for the benefit of the patient to tackle problems where they surface – pharmacists, carers, social care and housing colleagues often spot first when health is deteriorating.

We need you to come and tell us what works, what doesn’t and how we can change to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities and develop a sustainable health service for the long term.

Changing the model for long-term conditions is a key theme at this year’s Innovation Expo. In the pop-up university a whole theme is devoted to the House of Care, and delegates will learn about how to ensure care for long term conditions is integrated across health and social care.

Expo will bring together experts from across the health, care and wider public and private organisations to change the model for long-term conditions.

As my colleague Dr Martin McShane said in an interview a few weeks ago, long term conditions are the biggest problem facing the health and care system. They are the health care equivalent to climate change.

I’m clear that the NHS can’t do this by itself.  We need everyone to share their experience and expertise to find a way to improve the care and treatment for all.

Given the constraints on the money of the NHS, local government and all other public services, the clock is ticking.

  • For more information about Innovation Expo and to book your place go to: and you can follow all the latest updates as they happen on Twitter @NHSExpo

Dr Mike Bewick is Deputy Medical Director at NHS England.

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  1. Les Hanley says:

    Are there any more of these events planned?

  2. Les Hanley says:

    As a Lay Governor of Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, I wish I had known about this event. I would have been there. West Cumbria is the centre of the UK Nuvlear Industry, and I am part of an exciting and innovative Project to identify Nuclear Kwowledge and Technology which could have applications or address unmet needs in Health. We are hosting a free Conference in West Cumbria on 11 March which will be attended by representatives from Health, Nuclear Nd Universities. If anyone would like to be there, please let me know and I will send you the details.

  3. Judith Ingham says:

    Speaking as a local government officer, it would be good to have NICE public health guidelines or a PHE/LGA joint report on best practice that covers the wider aspects of supporting people with longterm health conditions in the community from a multi-agency perspective. In particular, these could include helping them stay physically active, obtaining/retaining employment, preventing social isolation, considerations on what should trigger referral for further medical support and how to achieve this, etc.

    As individuals with longstanding health conditions have very diverse needs, service providers may feel inhibited about setting up specific procedures to deal with their needs as a group, even though this would be beneficial.

    One example; some people with longstanding health conditions are worried about physical activity – what can they do that will be safe and not painful? This discourages them from taking exercise that would be beneficial to their health. It should, though, be a given that physical activity is as much part of our lifestyle as our diet. Ideally people with a longstanding condition would be given a note by a relevant medical professional about keeping up their level of physical activity with some advice on what they can do physically, and anything they should avoid. Leisure providers, including local authorities, can advise on locally available activities they can undertake, or provide exercise/activity programmes to meet their needs, just as many of us currently do with GP exercise referral schemes for obesity.

  4. Pearl Baker says:

    Until the GP understand they have a significant part to play in the integration of long term care, and that they are in the forefront of this, nothing will change. The CCG in particular GPs require more training in what this means. If their patient present significant concerns be it Mental or Care and Support issues it is important that they know who to contact within the relevant services, and follow this up to a satisfactory conclusion.

  5. Julie Jordan says:

    Re: “We know good management of long-term conditions keeps people from having to go to hospital.” It’s not just the local authorities you need on board but the acute providers too. They see reductions in hospital admissions as a threat to their income stream. There can a double whammy effect for them when they reduce their costs in the expectation of reduced demand, because patients are supposed to be diverted to community services, but demand remains high because those community services just aren’t there or are insufficient to replace the services previously provided by the acute.