SBRI Healthcare awards over £180,000 to HIN-backed innovations for autistic people and people with learning disability

SBRI Healthcare has awarded over £180,000 to two HIN-supported projects that help narrow inequalities for autistic people and people with learning disability in south London.

The projects include an annual health check and health planning tool to improve access to services; and a software tool to help people with a learning disability or autism to capture their needs and tailor support accordingly.

SBRI Healthcare is an Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) initiative – a partnership between patient groups, government bodies, industry and the NHS hosted by NHS England – and is delivered in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

It is estimated that about 1.5 million people have a learning disability in the UK, and about 800,000 people are autistic. Many people have both a learning disability and are autistic. There has been a rise in referrals for autism assessment, with systems under pressure to meet demand. Significant health inequalities can impact access to the right support for autistic people and people with a learning disability.

The Successful HIN-backed Projects

Maldaba

Improving annual health checks and design EMIS interoperability

Awarded £96,396 

This project will open up a digital communication pathway between primary care and service users so that annual health check (AHC) and health action planning (HAP) processes will be more inclusive and provide better access to health and care services, including health promotion.

RIX Software

RIX Multi Me Toolkit – for person-centred integrated health and care for people with learning disabilities and autism

Awarded £83,277

The RIX Multi Me Toolkit enables people with a learning disability and autistic people to capture their needs and share how best to provide them with support and healthcare, using simple multimedia apps and a secure online support network. This project will refine these tools in partnership with service-users and providers.

Background

‘Competition 20 – Autism and Learning Disabilities’ was launched in May 2022, as a Phase 1 development funding competition, funded by the Accelerated Access Collaborative, in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) and Autistica. It specifically sought innovations to help with early identification and diagnosis and equal access to effective support and care.

Alongside progress being made by the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England’s Transforming Care Programme, and the Core20PLUS5 initiative, the new funding aims to accelerate change and use the best of cross-sector collaboration and technical expertise.

The competition was open to single companies or organisations from the private, public, and third sectors, including large corporates, small and medium enterprises, charities, universities and NHS providers.

The projects will run for up to six months, with the aim to demonstrate whether the innovations are technically feasible. Innovations that can prove their impact and potential will be able to seek further funding for prototype development and evaluation, with the aim for successful technologies to be adopted for use by the NHS.  

Matt Whitty, Director of Innovation, Research and Life Sciences at NHS England and CEO of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, said:

“Earlier this year our learning disability and autism demand signalling report identified the most important research questions and innovation challenges that need addressing to help deliver for those impacted and we’re delighted to build on that work by investing in the fantastic innovations we are announcing today.

“We have selected these innovations because they have the potential to make a big difference to tackling health inequalities in autism and learning disabilities – and by supporting the most promising innovations the NHS will continue to evolve, helping meet more patients needs and encouraging more innovators to come forward with ideas that make a difference.”

Dr Lorcan Kenny, National Research Lead for Autism, NHS England, said:

“NHS England remains committed to improving healthcare for autistic people and people with a learning disability, who can face significant health inequalities. Innovative technology along with good quality research about its effectiveness will be key in achieving some of the goals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, such as reducing diagnosis waiting lists, delivering efficient services and improving coordination and quality of care.”

Dr Amanda Roestorf, Head of Research at Autistica, said:

“Autistica is delighted to be partnering with NHS England and Small Business Research Initiative Healthcare (SBRIH) to solve unmet needs of autistic people and people with learning disabilities. The SBRIH funding pathway will support the research initiatives to bring new technologies to the NHS as a crucial step to enabling autistic and other neurodivergent people to live happier, healthier, longer lives. These projects demonstrate that rapid innovation based on high-quality evidence and collaboration between industry, health and care services, and academic experts, is both possible and necessary to create practical solutions to improve the lives and outcomes of autistic people.”

Find out more

You can find out more about the other projects awarded by SBRI across England.

Find out more about the winning projects

Medication Without Harm: Improving care for people living with chronic pain

Unsafe medication practices and medication errors are a leading cause of avoidable harm in healthcare systems around the world. That’s why Medication Without Harm is the theme of the World Health Organisation’s third Global Patient Safety Challenge. The HIN’s Ayo Chike-Michael writes about the part we are playing to address this.

The Impact of Opioid Over-prescribing

People living with chronic pain understandably want to limit its impact on their daily lives. I can relate to this, having had three caesarean operations in the past 19 years. For weeks after the surgery, I didn’t need anyone to remind me to take my pain-relieving medicines! In my experience the pain resolved in a few weeks. However there are many people who live with chronic pain (defined as pain lasting longer than 12 weeks), estimated to be between one and six per cent of the population in England (NICE 2021).

Where self-care pain-management approaches are not sufficient, most people typically depend on their doctor or increasingly their pharmacist to prescribe the right medication. Opioids (such as codeine, morphine, fentanyl and buprenorphine) are commonly prescribed and offer great benefits to many people living with pain. In the UK, most opioids require a prescription and are only meant to be used on a short-term basis.

What clinicians think good looks like may be different from what the patient thinks. The work is easier when both discuss and agree together on way forward - Lelly Oboh, Consultant Pharmacist for Care of Older People and SEL ICS Pharmacist Over-prescribing Lead

It is estimated over half a million people in England are prescribed opioid pain relief for longer than three months. When the source of long-term pain does not have a cause that can be treated, opioids can do more harm than good, especially in high doses. This leads to tolerance, which means higher quantities are needed for the same effect. This can cause overdependence, side-effects and worsened physical and mental health. In England, it is predicted that without action about 6,000 people a year could be hospitalised as a result of taking opioids for extended periods. (AHSN Network, 2021).
This is why prescribers should review progress with patients to reduce or stop opioid use as appropriate and offer patients alternatives Initiating and prescribing opioids safely is one of the many ‘wicked’ problems in healthcare. The prescriber needs to decide the right dosage, monitor progress and support the patient with information; while the patient needs to be well informed from the beginning, involved in decision making and feedback.

To help address the problem, NHS England commissioned 15 regionally based Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) to address this issue through the Medicines Safety Improvement Programme (MedSIP). The programme aims to reduce high dose prescribing (>120mg oral morphine equivalent) for non-cancer pain by 50 per cent by March 2024. All PSCs aim to support clinicians in their region to prevent initiation of opioid use where possible, deprescribe when necessary, offer targeted support to patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain and aim to offer nonpharmacological alternatives.

“It's about working differently, not working harder” – Cleo Butterworth, Associate Clinical Director- Patient Safety, Health Innovation Network

Opioid Stewardship

At the Health Innovation Network we’ve developed a CPD-accredited quality improvement collaborative programme that brings together clinicians from across south London to develop their skills for safer use of opioids. Masterclasses are delivered by clinical experts and people with lived experience, focusing on the complexity of pain management and how to support patients. The programme has thirty-five participants who are mainly GPs and pharmacists. It will conclude in March 2023 when participants will test their improvement ideas through a pilot, and ultimately implement them across a wider population.

The opioids stewardship programme is championing empowerment of everyone involved with prescribing opioids – Sarah Dennison, Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer for NHS England – London

As one of the organisers, the masterclasses have helped me to better understand the nuances interwoven into the work of the prescribers, and frustration of people living with chronic pain. It’s important to hear the patient’s side and listen, question and collaborate with them.

Natasha Callender, the programme lead, has shared her reflections from the four sessions delivered so far below: 

  • Clinicians should not initiate discussions with patients about complex pain with a primary focus on deprescribing opioids. Instead patients should be primed with information about the best ways to manage complex pain, harms from long-term high dose opioids and supported through regular follow-ups so they can be involved in decisions.
  • Persistent pain is complex and has strong links to mood, emotional wellbeing, mental health, childhood experiences, patient expectations and fears, and previous experience of pain.
  • Pain is not one single concept – it is important to understand the different type of sensations and the impact these have on patients’ lives.
  • It is important to navigate the nuances of addiction and dependence through discussion with patients and raise awareness of non-pharmacological alternatives.

Find out more

To find out more about the Opioid Stewardship Programme contact Natasha Callender.

Get in touch

Transforming Type 1 Diabetes Care in South East London

This World Diabetes Day we are very excited to share with you all the transformational work occurring in type 1 diabetes outpatient care in south east London.

The Impact of Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a potentially devastating diagnosis for individuals and families, putting enormous demands on people to manage their diabetes every single day. More than eight per cent of people in the UK with diabetes have type 1 diabetes, and new diagnosis rates are increasing by four per cent each year. Recent advances in technology and understanding of type 1 diabetes have been huge, and the avoidance of diabetes complications is now possible for everyone.

Diabetes complications can be severe, and avoiding these is linked to good glucose management. The NHS supports this through structured education sessions, clinic-based support from diabetes specialists and access to technology such as insulin pumps and glucose monitors. All people with type 1 diabetes should be receiving care from specialist services in order to support them to achieve and maintain safe glucose levels.

Unfortunately, there are still variations in access to, and outcomes of, diabetes care. Recent analysis in Hackney and Brent suggests that around 30 per cent of people who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are not under the care of a specialist diabetes team. Nationally we measure whether people with diabetes meet three key treatment targets (HbA1c, cholesterol and blood pressure) as an indicator to how well we are managing diabetes at a population level. The recent National Diabetes Audit shows that only 24.4 per cent of Londoners living with type 1 diabetes have achieved all three treatment targets. This is even lower among people of ethnic minority groups and those living in more deprived areas.

Type 1 diabetes outpatient transformation aims:

  • Engage and connect with people with type 1 diabetes in the community, and particularly those not currently under the care of specialist diabetes teams;
  • Improve equitable implementation of, and access to, technology;
  • Drive improvement in provision of, and access to self-management support, including structured education and peer support;
  • Build capacity and type 1 diabetes competency within the workforce across all specialist and non-specialist care sectors;
  • Improve data monitoring, reporting and transparency on health outcomes to measure experience of care.

What We’re Doing

To address these variations NHS London Diabetes Clinical Network have created the Type 1 Diabetes Outpatient Transformation Framework. The framework challenges providers and commissioners of diabetes care to question how we can make changes which reduce inequalities in diabetes care access and outcomes. Its ambition is to ensure 100 per cent of people living with type 1 diabetes have access to structured education, self-management support, specialist diabetes care and technology in a way that meets their needs and expectations, irrespective of location, ethnicity, and deprivation.

We have convened a network of outpatient and community providers on behalf of south east London ICB in order to respond to and implement the framework. Collaboration and transformation is at the core of this network. It has strong representation from all outpatient provider sites in south east London, as well as community providers and mental health trusts. The network provides a space for providers and commissioners to work together on transforming and adapting local type 1 diabetes care to the needs of south east Londoners.

Provider-commissioner collaboration and co-production will continue to be at the heart of what we do at the network. Healthcare transformation and improvement is inherently a WICKED problem. It is through the network’s diversity of thought and experience that we can hope to address this problem, and to unpick the challenges people with type 1 diabetes face daily when trying to manage their health. We are in the beginning stages of an exciting journey in south east London; a journey that we are embarking on as a team.

I have really enjoyed working with south east London colleagues in setting up the network. It has given us the chance to understand the challenges and aspirations of providers and commissioners, and unite in our efforts to improve T1 diabetes care. – Dr Sophie Harris, Chair of South East London Type 1 Outpatient Transformation Network

Find out more

To find out more about what we’re doing to support people living with type 1 diabetes, contact HIN Project Manager Kate Rawlings.

Get in touch

Good Boost: Using AI to help people with musculoskeletal conditions

Participants

  • Four fifths of participants had incomes in the lowest forty per cent;
  • Eighty-four per cent were Black or Asian;
  • Almost half were living with another long-term health condition;
  • Fifty-five per cent of participants reported they were inactive before they started.

A project funded by a Health Innovation Network innovation grant has used artificial intelligence to improve the lives of Londoners with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.

The year-long Good Boost Project was led by King’s College Hospital rehabilitation clinicians, physiotherapists and hospital volunteers. It was launched in Southwark in April 2021, and also piloted at Kingston Hospital.

The project supported patients living with long-term MSK conditions (conditions affecting the joints, bones and muscles), those recovering from joint replacement surgery, as well as older patients, giving them the opportunity to keep active.

Patients were offered a personalised water-based exercise programme, developed using artificial intelligence. This was tailored to their health condition, fitness level and confidence in the water.

After just five months:

  • Two-thirds of participants reported an improvement in their health
  • Almost a quarter reported improvements in their functional capacity
  • More than a fifth reported a reduction in pain levels

Nicky Wilson, Consultant Physiotherapist at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, explained: “This project began in the second Covid-19 national lockdown to make sure that people with MSK conditions could continue to keep active and well.

“Delivering the Good Boost Project in the heart of the community is increasing opportunities for people with MSK conditions to access rehabilitation, widen their social support networks, and embed regular ongoing physical activity into their lives, which will improve and maintain their health. It’s hugely exciting and humbling to see the impact the programme is having.”

Dorothy Oxley, 74, from East Dulwich, was invited to take part in the project after undergoing knee surgery in October 2021. She said: “My operation on my knee had left me with mobility problems, and I was determined to get my independence back. So when my physiotherapist mentioned the Good Boost Project, I was delighted to take part.

“I’m glad I signed up, because it really did help me build my confidence and become more mobile. Being in the water meant I wasn’t worried about losing my balance and falling, and everyone in the group supported each other. It truly was a boost.”

Find out more

Find out more about Good Boost in the full evaluation report.

Read the full evaluation

Primary Care Automation Grant Winners Announced

The winners of the London Digital First Primary Care Automation Grants have been announced today by the Health Innovation Network, working in partnership with NHS England. Grants of up to £65k will be awarded to projects across London to pilot automation solutions in primary care.

Automation refers to the design and implementation of technologies to provide services with minimal human involvement. Automating high-volume, repetitive, rule-based tasks can improve productivity, efficiency, reliability, compliance, speed and accuracy, colleague morale, and integration between people and process. This can help free up clinical and administrative staff so they can focus on securing the best possible outcomes for patients.

Over £600,000 has been allocated across eleven innovative primary care projects in London. Grant applications were assessed upon the scope, scale, impact, sustainability, and opportunities for spread and adoption of their projects. Pilots will be monitored against agreed metrics over the next 12 months, before being evaluated.

“Primary care faces an ever increasing workload. It is exciting to see these automation pilots provide hope for a range of solutions to tackle this workload with improved outcomes for both staff and patients. It might not be long before we look back and wonder how did we ever manage without some of these automation solutions” - Dr Shanker Vijay London Region GP Clinical Lead Digital First Programme, NHS England 

The grants programme provides a unique opportunity for us to pilot a variety of innovative automation solutions that can transform the way practices manage their workload. We hope that through this work patient care and staff morale will be improved by automated processes freeing up both clinical and administrative staff from some of the most time consuming and repetitive tasks they currently undertake." - Matt Nye, Director, London Digital First Programme

The grant winners are:

Dr Lucy Goodeve-Docker, Lambeth Digital Lead, Lambeth Healthcare Federation South East London

Lambeth Healthcare Federation are using Healthtech-1 automation technology to establish full automation of online registration into the clinical system (EMIS). Automating online patient registrations will allow patients to register within minutes, remove user data errors, reduce administrative data input time, allow accurate demographic collection, and ensure households are appropriately aligned to support safeguarding principles. Health-tech 1 is currently on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.

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Lucy McLaughlin, Cancer Recovery Program Lead for North Central London (NCL), North Central London ICB - Performance & Transformation Directorate

NCL plan to improve patient appointment non-attendance for cervical screening in Islington by using a SPRYTs AI powered virtual receptionist named Asa, which interacts with patients via WhatsApp and email. Asa incorporates behavioural science approaches and linguistics to change behaviours. This allows Asa to adjust language and other messaging content and design for specific population segments, to optimise attendance at screening appointments.

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Dr Nisha Patel, GP Partner and Trainer, Nightingale Practice in City and Hackney and City and Hackney GP Confederation Clinical Lead

The Nightingale Practice is working with Edenbridge (APEX), to automate workforce rota management, predict patient demand and workforce requirements, highlighting surplus and deficit staffing levels. By applying “rules” around capacity requirements and leave-booking, the administrative burden on practice staff will be reduced and access for patients to GP appointments improved.

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Dr Sian Knight, Executive Partner, Modality Medical Services, Lewisham, SEL

Modality Medical Services are working with their in-house Robotic Process Automation Team to automate pathology results filing, specifically the automation of bowel cancer screening results. A bot will file 'normal' bowel cancer results, automatically send an SMS to patients with normal BCS results (with guidance of when to contact the GP) and communicate with patients that have been identified as not having participated in the BCS.

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Dr Raza Toosy, lead GP, Sutton IT Solutions, and Jagdish Kumar, Head of New Business for Sutton PCNs

The Park Road Medical Centre are working with PatientChase to improve long term condition management and risk stratification in Sutton, Wallington, Cheam, and Carshalton. The automation of self-booking coupled with enhanced risk stratification will allow our centralised call and recall team to focus their efforts on patients with the highest clinical need to access various pro-active health services. A Customer Relationship Management system will be used to record insights through engagement with groups with health inequalities to better understand how best to reach and engage with them.

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Dr Robbie Howell, Clinical IT Lead; and Anastasia Remos, Asthma WAF Project Lead for N1 PCN & Islington GP Federation, NCL

North 1 PCN & Islington GP Federation will be using GP Automate’s Robotic Process Automation functionality to automate processes for clinical and admin staff through 5 automated products: Lab Reports, New Patient Registration, Accurx Asthma Floreys, Accurx BP Floreys and Accurx Diabetes pre-appointment questionnaires. Through automating these manual and time-consuming tasks they intend to improve patient outcomes, workforce satisfaction and sustainability of general practice.

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Dr Joanna Yong, GP Partner at St Andrews Medical Practice, Barnet PCN 2, NCL

Barnet PCN 2 is using Blue Prism’s (BP) cloud-based intelligent software to automate the clinical document workflow process. A bot will determine:

  • no action;
  • coding only,
  • identify specific documents which are coded and go to an allocated team member for a decision, and;
  • further action for low risk pathways such as smear results, appointment letters and follow-ups eg breast screening mammogram results and long term conditions. 

This bid complements existing locally run GP Assistant Programme and complements a second PCN2 cancer based clinical pathway automation. 

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Dr Kiran Nakrani, NCL GP Website Clinical Lead, Barnet PCN 2, NCL

This automation project builds on the EMIS e-safety netting template which is already used across London and aims to track the outcome of important cancer documents via the Health information Exchange (HIE) Cerner portal for patients referred via the two week target pathway. A bot will mimic current process of:

  • identifying the clinical letter;
  • filtering it into the correct process for DNA vs Clinician Workflow;
  • identifying the outcome of the target referral as either DNA or patient contact made by secondary care;
  • advising the referring clinician on next steps.
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Dr Rob Seal, GP at Lavender Hill Group Practice and joint Clinical Director at Battersea PCN; and Dr Soleman Begg, GP at St John’s Hill Surgery, Wandsworth PCN and Battersea PCN, SWL

Wandsworth PCN and Battersea PCN are working with JiffJaff and Automation Anywhere to automate high volume and repetitive tasks that can be clinically significant. These include:

  • clinical safety validation process for laboratory tests;
  • patient compliance with antipsychotic mediation;
  • division of clinical administrative workload;
  • reducing workload for pharmacy technicians.

Time saved from automating these processes will allow clinical staff members to spend more time on patient care and administrative staff to focus more on patients who require personalised engagement.

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Dr Manotheethan Jegasothy, GP in Kingston and Richmond; and Dr Soleman Begg, GP at St John’s Hill Surgery, Chessington and Surbiton PCN

Chessington and Surbiton PCNs are working with JiffJaff and Automation Anywhere to automate the filing of ‘normal’ pathology results. Improved automated processes will ensure results are processed quicker and will benefit patients with real-time reporting of their results. Time saved through this automated process will result in clinicians and administrative staff having more time available for the practice and patients.

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Dr Jwala Gupta, Clinical Director, Havering North PCN; Dr Gurmeet Singh, Clinical Director, Havering North PCN; Dr Pratheep Sunthara-Moorthy, Co-Founder of Care IQ

Havering North Network will be using the CareIQ proprietary automation engine to provide automated recall of patients with hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation.

A central team will oversee the recall using staggered invites and providing a uniform process across the PCN. This will include CareIQ questionnaires, telephone, video, and face to face consultations.

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Four Lessons from our Anti-Racism Project

Our anti-racism project is co-led by Catherine Dale, Programme Director of Patient Safety and Pearl Brathwaite, Project Manager in our Accelerated Access Collaborative team. We hear from Pearl and our CEO Rishi Das-Gupta on what they have learnt from the project since its inception in December 2021.

1. Sometimes you don’t know you have a problem until you talk about it.

The HIN is a great place to work, and we employ people who commit to our values and want to improve care and health for all. We have an agreeable environment, but recognise that our teams don't yet reflect the diversity our local south London community.

What we’ve realised is that sometimes you don’t know you have a problem until you talk about it. We started a conversation following George Floyd’s murder in 2020, speaking to staff to understand the impact of race and racism on people working in the HIN and the communities we work with and serve.

We realised that our individual experiences of life, work and community have been and continue to be impacted by race, and that we wouldn’t have spoken about it without this opportunity.

2. It starts with conversations in a safe space.

Our underlying approach has been to create a psychologically safe space which embodies the HIN values of being brave, open, together, kind, and different. We listened to perspectives from across the organisation. We discussed case studies, stories, and relevant news to highlight the issues and understand how our perspectives differ as a result of our experiences.

To aid internal discussion, we used a liberating structure framework to encourage the various themes to ask three questions: What? So What? Now What?. This structure is designed to help facilitate the gathering of facts ("what?"), make sense of those facts ("so what?"), and understand what we can do next ("now what?").

This worked well for us because our teams tend to want to fix problems. Teams identified a challenge in moving to action and the "now what?" too quickly, because of the vast amounts to explore in the "what (is the issue)"’ and the "so what (why is it important)?".

Practically it takes time to have these conversations and we had to set aside time to do this. This meant that we were making an active choice to engage in this work and appointed a trusted external facilitator to guide some of these organisation-wide conversations.

The series of conversations were:

  • How we talk about our ambitions in becoming an anti-racist organisation;
  • How we talk about the impact of racism on individuals and the community that we serve;
  • How we seek to influence others, in our everyday lives and outside of the HIN.

3. Expect the conversation to be difficult at first, but easier over time

This topic brings people's experience to the fore. It helps to be clear that this can be an emotive and deeply personal subject… so it will probably make people uncomfortable. It challenged our unconscious bias and beckoned us to become vulnerable and open to change.

There still exists a general worry around terminology, fear of getting it wrong and a fear of destabilising something that is working. Language is important and can trigger emotional responses, so it was important to recognise that we might make missteps and invite people to talk about the impact of language use on them. When it came to language, we wanted to agree a common terminology that we use to talk about this. Black and Asian Ethnic Minority, Minority Ethnic, BAME and Global Majority are some of the terms we have collectively chosen and discussed. We are still learning. 

We have heard from a colleague, who took a secondment before the anti-racism programme launched, about the impact she noticed on returning to the organisation. She observes that the values of the organisation are the same, but we now have deeper and more confident conversations about race, racism and health inequality.

4. Recognising progress keeps everyone going

On this journey we need to stay motivated. We did this by sharing progress with our colleagues and keeping up to date with our commitments, vision, and ambitions for the organisation. We asked ourselves:

  • Is this sort of change measurable? Changes are incremental, and we are committed to seeing constant change in our meetings, projects and interactions, as opposed to one standalone project.
  • What metrics should we set and why? Measuring change is important to keep enthusiasm for the programme and to justify ongoing focus, commitment, and budget. Our evaluation team is helping to capture change via quantitative and qualitative means.
  • What about the change that can’t be measured? When we hear conversations have gone well, we reflect and highlight good practice. A recent example, as shared by Rishi, is a training opportunity that was shared with leadership only. However, as the leadership team is not very diverse we decided to share the training more broadly to give the opportunity to a wider group of applicants. This is not a conversation or decision that would have taken place without our anti-racism work.

Change is incremental and we need to take stock from time to time. Though we have highlighted the impact of talking and having conversations, we recognise it doesn’t end here. After listening to views from across the organisation we have been able to identify action that is needed to make incremental change. We will move safely towards this.

We hope to share more with you as the work progresses.

Rishi and Pearl

Access Denied: Addressing Inequalities in Digital Healthcare Tools

Clinician using technology

James Friend, Director of Digital Strategy at NHS England London region, writes about how the Access Denied report is shedding light on digital inequalities and what you can do to help.

The NHS has the potential to transform services for patients, from assessment to treatment, through digital technology. But it is crucial that this is done in a way which reduces rather than increases inequalities.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to a rapid increase in the use of digital technology in healthcare, whether this is the use of the NHS app for vaccine passports, the proliferation of online doctors’ consultations or the development of new tools for remote monitoring or self-management of conditions. This has many benefits. It can make services more flexible by enabling out-of-hours access, and digital services can be an improvement for people who are visually impaired or who have limited English skills.

But while for many people accessing services digitally is now the norm, this is not yet universal, and there is evidence of a link between digital exclusion and social disadvantage. People with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, race) are less likely to have access to the internet, and the skills to use it (NHS Digital, 2019); and the impact of this has not yet been fully understood.

The role of digital is currently being considered by the newly-formed Integrated Care Boards, and this presents a unique opportunity to make sure that people without digital access are not left behind. That’s why the Health Innovation Network, the Academic Health Science Network for south London, hosted an important roundtable with experts on this topic which I chaired. The Access Denied report takes the key points from this discussion and explores the impact of digital inequalities in healthcare, making a series of recommendations for those seeking to adopt new technologies:

  • Work with digital innovations that meet the highest standards for accessibility and usability.

  • Test digital products and services thoroughly with a cross section of patients, providers and commissioners.

  • Use data to optimise delivery to improve outcomes and minimise exclusion over time.

  • Understand how people may need specific channels of delivery at different times or for different services.

  • Ensure you capture data so you can measure and compare outcomes and experience by channel.

  • Don’t plan care pathways for the majority – ensure it is optimised for those from minority backgrounds too.

  • Consider the support needed to move people to digital pathways.

  • Ensure equality impact assessments for transforming care pathways pay attention to digital exclusion as a potential risk of inequality.

We are also calling on designers, developers and the NHS to work together in two ways:

  • We need to develop frameworks, similar to those seen for information governance and clinical safety, which would set out guidance for mitigating against health inequalities that could become adopted and embedded by design.

  • Ethical considerations must be built into the clinical safety case of the tool and data used to inform or train algorithms must be thoroughly examined for bias.

You can find out more about digital inequalities, their impact and what you can do about them in the Access Denied report.

Find Out More

Find out more about digital health inequalities and how to avoid them.

Read the Access Denied Report

How the Low Carb Program is Helping People with Type 2 Diabetes

Person using phone app in kitchen surrounded by healthy vegetables.

Post Title

We hear from Arjun Panesar, Founding CEO and Head of AI at DDM Health, developers of the Low Carb Program which provides type 2 diabetes structured education across South London, with a particular focus on supporting ethnic minority communities.

South east London ICB commissioned the Low Carb Program in June 2021 to provide structured education for patients with type 2 diabetes in south east and south west London.

Alongside type 2 diabetes structured education, health coaching and behavioral change support aligned to NICE guidelines, users can choose to follow a low carbohydrate, Mediterranean or balanced diet approach tailored to their health goals, needs and preferences. The platform provides live weekly cook-alongs, exercise classes, meetups, a moderated community, and AI-tailored recipe suggestions based on allergies, dietary requirements and cultural preferences.

“I found the weekly group sessions very useful. When you are trying to lose weight and feel like you are not making progress on certain weeks, you get encouragement from the health coaches and fellow members.” – Karthik S

By providing users with a personalised program to meet their needs, we make it so much easier for people to integrate healthy lifestyle choices in their lives and stick to a program of self-management. This helps to support long-term maintenance of a healthy weight and ongoing behaviour change.

The platform, delivered in nine languages, has proven to be very popular. Real-world data collected after 12 months demonstrates that 83 per cent of patients activated their referral, with 73 per cent of participants completing the intervention. Over 60 per cent of participants are from ethnic minority backgrounds and list English as a second language, with almost half digitally excluded. The project also supports the ICB’s broader Primary Care Green Plan to use local languages to convey important health messaging and understand the cultural needs of the communities affected.

“I went for a blood test the other day and my HbA1c has gone down from 7.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent. I’ve also gone from 107kg to 91kg in 5 months” – Maxine K

We started with a series of digital patient workshops with prospective service users and existing patient champions from within the identified boroughs to understand local needs. South east London alone has an estimated 1.9 million residents and is an area of mixed deprivation. Over and above the language needs, we identified a requirement to support digital and digitally excluded users. The platform was integrated within the existing digital booking platform used in the borough and directed eligible patients with type 2 diabetes to the Low Carb Program.

“I have successfully maintained my blood glucose level and weight loss (17kg) over more than 12 months now.” – Albertos F

The project, supported by the Health Innovation Network, hasn’t just shown popularity but impact too. Self-reported measurements showed a -6.9mmol/mol HbA1c reduction and 6.2 per cent weight loss at 12 months. A five per cent weight loss reduction can reduce a person’s risk of heart disease, musculoskeletal problems, stroke, type 2 diabetes related complications and some even cancers, such as breast cancer, by 12 per cent.[1]

Notably, the service supports democratising access to digital tools for hard-to-reach communities. The project has led to the Low Carb Program’s outcomes being showcased to NHS England, which we are incredibly grateful for.

“It’s made such a big difference to my confidence. I love the new Mary!” – Mary R

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Meet the innovator: Louisa Stacey

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Woman in front of wall

In this edition, we catch up with Louisa Stacey, Head of Strategy and Operations at Ufonia, an automated telephone-based system that allows routine clinical conversations to provide a standardised, high quality and efficient experience for patients.

Tell us about your innovation in a sentence: Dora is an automated telephone based system that can have routine clinical conversations with patients to provide a standardised, high quality and efficient patient experience.

What was the ‘lightbulb’ moment?

Being approached by Nick (CEO and Founder of Ufonia) to come and work for Ufonia. This gave me the confidence to believe that I could use all of the skills, abilities, and experience I had gained throughout my academic and NHS career, to make a bigger difference to more patients, clinicians, and the wider NHS.

What three bits of advice would you give budding innovators?

  1. Be brave and bold - believe in your vision and have the conviction to see it through; there will always be very difficult days
  2. Work collaboratively - there are so many talented people willing and able to assist you in achieving your vision
  3. Be empathetic - to develop a true and meaningful understanding of how your innovation will be used to make a difference

What’s been your toughest obstacle?

My toughest obstacle has been and still is…trying to reconcile striving to do the best with a ‘just do it’ mentality to ensure we are delivering value to patients, Trusts, and commissioners as readily as possible.

What’s been your innovator journey highlight?

The buzz I get when I work directly with clinical teams to understand their processes and constraints, followed by the collective realisation of the potential impact that Dora can bring in releasing clinicians’ valuable time to deliver services to the many thousands of patients on their waiting lists.

Best part of your job now?

Genuinely, the team I work with and the impact that this has on the pace, scale, and quality of work delivered. Everyone is phenomenally talented and driven to achieve the same goals which is fundamental in any team to support happiness, retention, and delivery. Check out the team here: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ufonia/mycompany/

If you were in charge of the NHS and care system, what’s the one thing you’d do to speed up health innovation?

Reduce the duplication of effort and variety of systems and processes in place at each individual Trust to support the adoption of technology e.g. all Trusts accepting a set of nationally recognised assurance documents supporting information governance and security measures (DPIA, DTAC) without having a Trust-specific template.

A typical day for you would include…

My day is very varied and can start with meeting busy clinicians at 8am before their clinics begin or logging on early to check emails and slack messages to understand the priorities for the day. Then I will meet the Ufonia team for our virtual daily standup at 9am and find out what work everyone has on as well as a fun fact (e.g. What are you most looking forward to about Autumn?). Whilst we are recruiting more team members into operations, a lot of my day involves meeting with NHS staff to support the implementation of Dora to their services, and with commissioners to demonstrate return on investment. I particularly enjoy helping members of the Ufonia team to find and solve problems which drive improvements in our ways of working. When I have a quiet moment, the creativity flows and I can think of bigger picture strategic work which is a huge motivator for me.

You can find Ufonia on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Health Innovation Funding Opportunities

Health Innovation Network funding opportunities

The latest funding opportunities and grants for innovation in healthcare.

We update this page monthly so check back for the latest opportunities or subscribe to our newsletter for updates.

Featured health innovation funding opportunities:

NIHR i4i Connect Opens: 6 December 2022

i4i Connect is aimed at small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) developing medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and Tier C digital health technologies with direct patient benefits, looking to ultimately integrate into the NHS. The funding stream aims to help SMEs reach the next stage in the development pathway to apply for further funding, in particular for an i4i Product Development Award. i4i Connect is researcher-led and does not specify topics for research.

NIHR i4i Product Development Award Deadline: 7 December 2022
i4i Product Development Awards (PDA) support translational research and development of medical devices, in vitro diagnostics and high-impact patient-focused digital health technologies for ultimate NHS use. The research proposals may address any disease or health area, provided there is a clear unmet clinical need. There is no upper funding limit for Product Development Awards, but costs must be fully justified.

British Heart Foundation Innovation Fund (Round 1) Deadline: 5 December 2022
The fund will operate through Expressions of Interest (EoI) in the first instance. The proposals outlined in the EoIs can range in scale of maturity, from a problem statement that is yet to be defined through to ideas and solutions that are ready to be tested. A maximum of £10,000 will be awarded to support the exploration of selected EoIs. Between £50,000 to £300,000 will be awarded to test the implementation of worked up proposals, and will be subject to a formal application for funding to be assessed by peer reviewers.

General health innovation funding opportunities:

SBRI HEALTHCARE:
SBRI Healthcare is an NHS England & NHS Improvement initiative, supported by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and managed by LGC Group. We aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.

Innovate UK:
Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

Digitalisation and Automation of Medicines R&D and Manufacture. Deadline: 21 December 2022
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million. This is to support digitalised and automated technology innovation and implementation for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing. This funding is from Innovate UK.

Innovative technologies for nucleic acid medicines manufacturing Deadline: 21 December 2022.
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million for manufacturing innovation for nucleic acid medicines. This funding is from Innovate UK.

BIOTECHNOLOGICAL AND BOLOGICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, is a non-departmental public body, and is the largest UK public funder of non-medical bioscience. It predominantly funds scientific research institutes and university research departments in the UK.

BBSRC standard research grant. Deadline: Open call

You can apply for research grants at any time in any area within the remit of BBSRC. BBSRC funds research in plants, microbes, animals (including humans), and the tools and technology underpinning biological research from the level of molecules and cells, to tissues, whole organisms, populations and landscapes.

DEFENCE AND SECURITY ACCELERATOR (DASA)

DASA aims to find and fund exploitable innovation to support UK defence and security quickly and effectively, and support UK prosperity.

Open Competition Applications: Open call
The Open Call is one of the funding competition mechanisms DASA uses to find proposals that address challenges faced by government stakeholders. It gives bidders the opportunity to present their ideas to defence and security stakeholders at any time, without waiting for a relevant Themed Competition.

MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (MRC)
The Medical Research Council (MRC) improves the health of people in the UK – and around the world – by supporting excellent science, and training the very best scientists.

Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF) – Open call
This fund is to support businesses investing in life sciences manufacturing projects in the UK.

THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH RESEARCH
The nation’s largest funder of health and care research, providing the people, facilities and technology for research to thrive.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC)

ESRC Research Grant Applications: Open call
If you have an excellent idea for a research project, the ESRC have their Research Grants open call. Awards ranging from £350,000 to £1 million (100 per cent full Economic Cost (fEC)) can be made to eligible institutions to enable individuals or research teams to undertake anything from a standard research project through to a large-scale survey and other infrastructure or methodological development.

ENGINEERING AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL (EPSRC):

The EPSRC is the main funding body for engineering and physical research sciences. For EPSRC funding opportunities.

NC3RS:
The NC3RS is a UK-based scientific organisation dedicated to helping the research community worldwide to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for medical testing.

Data at Scale Improvement Projects:

The London Health Data Strategy programme has announced funding and support for new Improvement Projects to use pan-London data to improve health outcomes.

NHS organisations, academia and the healthcare industry are invited to apply to lead innovative new projects in healthcare outcome improvement, planning, clinical research and product research and development.

Trusts and Charities

The Health Foundation (HF)
HF’s aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. HF learns what works to make people’s lives healthier and improve the health care system. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, they shine a light on how to make successful change happen.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF)
BHF provide personal support for clinical and non-clinical cardiovascular researchers at all stages of their career. They also provide grants for short and long term research projects, essential infrastructure and strategic initiatives.

Association of Medical Research Charities
Over 30 years ago a small, diverse group of medical research charities form the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) to unite the sector and provide it with a leading voice. Since then their membership has grown to over 140 charities. In 2018, these charities invested £1.3 billion in medical research.

Other UK Government, Seed Funds & Loans

The British Business Bank (BBB) Applications: Open

BBB are a government-owned business development bank dedicated to making finance markets work better for smaller businesses. Whether you’re looking for finance to start a business, grow to the next level, or stay ahead of the competition, they say that they can deliver greater volume and choice of finance.

Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) funding. General ‘collection’ of news and funds

Information about SBRI for businesses and public sector organisations that might want to use the scheme.

UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund Applications: Open

The UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (formerly known as The Rainbow Seed Fund) is a £27.1m early-stage venture capital fund building and growing technology companies stemming from the UK’s research base.

Creative England Investments Applications: Open

Creative England is supporting SMEs by providing competitive loans to digital businesses in order to make their growth plans a reality. The investments on offer are intended to fuel this fast-growing sector by financing business expansion and new products, leading to the creation of new high-quality jobs and Intellectual Property (IP). Loans from £50,000 – £250,000 are available with repayment terms ranging from 3-36 months. Interest rates range from 5% – 10%, depending on the risk profile of the applicant. This includes companies from within the digital healthcare sector.

HSBC Loan Fund Deadline: Open

HSBC UK has announced a £14 billion lending fund to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Fund includes a ring-fenced £1 billion to help UK companies grow their business overseas, as well as a broader package of support. The initiative is available to UK businesses with a turnover of up to £350 million. Applicants do not need to be an HSBC customer to apply.

International Grants

Global Innovation Fund Applications: Open
GIF focuses on solutions that have the potential to address an important development problem more effectively than existing approaches, can come from anyone, anywhere. 
They seek out innovations they believe have the greatest potential to improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty.

The EIC Accelerator: Open Competition (Grants only)
The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. 

Other international funds of interest:

NICA Healthy Ageing Accelerator: China Competition
The Global Challenges Research Fund
The Newton Fund
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program

‘That’s how we’ve always done it’ – why AHSNs hold a powerful role for staff and patients

As part of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, Ellie Boden spent eight weeks working at the Health Innovation Network. Here she describes what that taught about the role of AHSNs.

At one point or another, I think all of us have heard the phrase ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’, which can be annoying at best and dangerous at worst. Enabling change in the NHS can be a difficult and lengthy process and the formation of the AHSNs were set up with the aim of tackling this challenge.

This means the HIN is in a position to look at a service with a fresh perspective and question why it’s always been done a certain way. By sitting separately to hospitals and community trusts, the HIN can help partner organisations to take a step back from the fire fighting and develop a headspace in which opportunities for change can be considered.

This may appear indulgent, but it is vital in the process of innovation and improvement, allowing care providers to think differently and collaborate. And by driving the spread and adoption of innovation, the HIN can improve health outcomes for patients and drive economic growth. Whether this be technology or service redesign, I saw changes move quickly due to the vast network of stakeholders with which the HIN has formed relationships.

It’s important to recognise that lots of our colleagues in transformation teams closer to the frontline also want to implement change. Yet, they may struggle to do so due to multiple barriers, which is why the work that AHSNs do is so important. HIN colleagues are the enablers and facilitators of change – they may not implement the change on the ground, but they support those on the frontline to do so. Since working at the HIN, I have seen first-hand the strong relationships that each team has with key stakeholders. That these relationships help the HIN to influence organisational change is one of its biggest strengths.

Although the HIN consistently demonstrates its ability to facilitate change, it can still come up against challenges as an AHSN. It can be difficult to determine the impact of an AHSN – wicked problems make it harder to measure tangible benefits of changes. Furthermore, the complex steps between engaging with teams to introducing a transformation that leads to service improvement, can make the impact unclear. In addition, it can be tricky to convince a team to introduce new innovations, even more so during the pandemic.

Yet AHSNs are the solution – crisis creates innovation at a time when the NHS needs it even more and these changes, particularly regarding digital technology, will be a necessity for the healthcare system moving forwards.

With the HIN being such a unique organisation, working with them may be a good choice for organisations needing additional support. The breadth of skill and expertise that exists, along with strong relationships throughout the system and an ability to be flexible, creates an organisation that would make an excellent partner.

As a Graduate Management Trainee, working at the HIN provided me with insight into an area of the NHS I had no former knowledge of. The opportunity to be challenged and yet supported made the HIN a fantastic placement experience and I would highly recommend it to graduate trainees seeking similar opportunities.

Interim Director of Digital Transformation appointed to HIN executive team

From July the Health Innovation Network will welcome Amanda Begley as the new Director of Digital Transformation on secondment from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT) for 12 months.

Amanda is currently Director of the Centre for Innovation, Transformation and Improvement (CITI) at GSTT and brings a wealth of experience in areas that are particularly relevant including leveraging the value of health data by co-developing the Health Data Research UK Hub for Cancer (DATA-CAN) and her work at NHS London and UCLPartners on innovation, as well as her operational roles including working at Kingston Hospital.

Dr Rishi Das-Gupta, Chief Executive at the HIN said: “We recognise that there is an increasing need to support digital transformation over south London and are well placed to support on this given our strong links with digital innovators through the DigitalHealth.London programme. Amanda will help us clarify this so we can fulfil our aim to make our region the leader for adopting digital innovations.” 

Dr Amanda Begley, Director of Digital Transformation said: “I am really excited  to join the team and work with colleagues across south London to plan how digital transformation can benefit , patients, staff and partners as we all recover from the after-effects of the pandemic.”

Adapting Diabetes Care to the Challenges of Covid-19

You & Type 2

As part of Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week we hear from the HIN's Kate Rawlings on the You & Type 2 programme, and how it was adapted to the challenges of Covid-19.

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Since early 2020 organisations across the world have been asking “How do we adapt and respond to Covid-19?”, and nowhere was this more true than in our own halls at the HIN (or virtual halls, as they soon became).

Since 2018 the HIN has worked with NHS South West London Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a personalised care and support planning pathway known as “You & Type 2” for people living with type 2 diabetes. Like with other healthcare services, its delivery was significantly challenged by the emergence of Covid-19. However, with this challenge also came opportunity, and the HIN launched two new branches of You & Type 2 to support people living with diabetes in light of Covid-19: @ Home and Risk Stratification.

@ Home

As the pandemic gained momentum, more and more pressure was being placed on primary care practices, who were forced to prioritise emergency care and reduce face-to-face contact. This often meant a halting routine checks, including annual diabetes care reviews.

You & Type 2 was temporarily paused, however, with the help of remote technology providers Thriva and Healthy.io, a remote monitoring pathway was developed. The @ Home pathway allowed people with diabetes to receive a free home blood testing kit, urine kit and blood pressure machine in the post. Following the tests, a care planning phone call allowed for seven of the eight key care processes to be completed remotely.

Risk Stratification

Identifying and prioritising high-risk populations was an important part of the Covid-19 pandemic response. It quickly became apparent that people with diabetes were at higher risk of severe illness should they contract COVID-19, but also at risk of their diabetes worsening with the halting of routine care.

Building on existing frameworks produced by the London Clinical Networks and UCL Partners, and with the support of clinical experts, the HIN developed a risk stratification framework. This framework consolidated general and disease specific criteria to focus on people at high risk, but not currently under secondary care. It could be loaded straight into EMIS and created a list for GP practices of people with diabetes at high risk for follow up. This allowed practices to focus their limited resources appropriately.

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Evaluation

Initial feedback on the pathways is positive. Over 100 people have used the @ Home pathway, and users have praised it for its convenience. Four practices across South West London have been trained to use the risk stratification tool. Full evaluations are being completed and will be released in the coming months.

Although borne out of the restrictions placed on routine care by COVID-19, these pathways show how the NHS can innovate and adapt in long term disease management to make services more convenient to their population, and how to prioritise interventions for those most in need.

22 million steps taken to prevent type 2 diabetes

To celebrate type 2 diabetes prevention week Chris Gumble, Project Manager for long term conditions at the South West London Health and Care Partnership, has written about the outstanding results seen by the Decathlon programme, which won a HIN Innovation Grant in 2019.

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“The programme offers everyone the opportunity to learn and to grow and to thrive”

The health and wellbeing of our local populations has been tested beyond limits over the last few years. Healthcare services have had to adapt and programmes like the Prevention Decathlon have evolved to meet this new “normal”. But, one thing has not changed: the drive and determination of the team working to improve the Prevention Decathlon.

I wanted to reflect on the last 18 months and share the  incredible journey we have been on that may just change the life of those who attend the programme for good.

0% completion rate

Collaborating with Sweatcoin and Harlequins foundation, new cohorts of Decathletes (what we call our attendees) have undertaken the Prevention Decathlon over the last year, all recruited from community places of worship, and who were recruited in partnership with the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network (WCEN).

Using the Sweatcoin bespoke app, we are able to track the steps taken by our Decathletes throughout the programme. In total our 59 Decathletes have walked an amazing 22 million steps over the ten-week programme period, which is an average of 45% increase in physical activity levels. Completion rates are at an all-time high of 92% (comparable programme average around 56% in SWL) with individual achievements by Decathletes showing an increase of activity levels by 336%, weight loss of up to 10kg as well as one "MVP" losing 16.4% of their total body weight.

0% increase in physical activity levels

These incredible numbers are real people’s achievements and ones that have undoubtably changed their lives for the better. In March, Decathletes were celebrated and awarded for their achievements.

This was all achieved by adapting the programme to meet the needs of the current climate. Throughout Covid-19, the Prevention Decathlon became a digitised offer (virtual delivery) as face to face groups were restricted. At the same time the curriculum was expanded to be more culturally inclusive with the support of the members from the WCEN.

Award nominations aplenty were achieved by the Prevention Decathlon programme over the last year with us being nominated for the London Sport Award 2021 for “Health and Wellbeing Programme of the Year” as well as a nomination for the best not-for-profit partnership at the HSJ Partnerships award 2022 in collaboration with Harlequins Foundation.

“It’s not just healthy eating. We talk about wellbeing, physical activity, stress and sleep, and it’s tailored to different types of diet.”Nicola Clarke - Diabetes Specialist Dietician and Decathlon Facilitator

Looking to the future, a new partnership with the public health teams across Richmond and Wandsworth will see the Prevention Decathlon be accessible to another 800 Decathletes over the coming year!

The Pentathlon, a 5-week version of the programme has also been created in collaboration with the WCEN that does not focus on a specific long-term condition, but on general health and wellbeing. The programme has been created in collaboration with the WCEN and is delivered by local people to their respective communities across SWL.

On the horizon is a really exciting version of the Prevention Decathlon that will be aimed at those at risk of developing cardiovascular disease, thus opening the door to thousands more people to take control of their health and wellbeing and living longer, happier lives!

Watch this space for other updates soon as the Prevention Decathlon wants to break boundaries via a Heptathlon programme, a health and wellbeing programme for those with learning disabilities. Working with the learning Disability team in Kingston, the programme will start its development in June 2022.

Improving Outcomes for Patients in Community Care: Innovation at Bromley Healthcare

When it comes to innovation, have you properly considered the role of community services? With changes to integrated care happening from July, community care is finally starting to get the recognition it deserves. We spoke to one of our partners, Dr Cath Jenson, Medical Director at Bromley Healthcare, about the difference they are making.

Too often overlooked, community care is now being recognised as the glue between primary and secondary care, helping provider collaboratives within the new integrated care systems to succeed.

As medical director at community provider Bromley Healthcare, I’m proud of the role we play in testing innovative solutions for integrated care and using data to drive improvement. For example, did you know we are the accelerator site for two hour response in south east London? Or that we are driving new standards for outcomes in meeting the needs of frail and complex patients outside hospital, integrating with the ‘One Bromley’ proactive care pathway and our own therapy and rehabilitation services (including bedded unit)?

Many don’t know we have specialist nurses across numerous fields – our children’s ‘hospital at home’ being another example of our innovations (shortlisted for a 2021 RCN Nursing Award in the Child Health category) aimed at keeping patients at home safely with a growing range of complex medical needs previously requiring admission. Or that we are the prime contractor for out-of-hospital diabetes care in Bromley and have recently recruited the first population health apprentice in London to develop population health initiatives for One Bromley (including Primary Care Networks).

And then there’s the services we provide outside Bromley, including special care dentistry across south east  London and health visiting in Bexley and Greenwich. In total we have over 35 services and 1,200 staff making the difference to patients in their own homes and communities.

There is a wealth of experiences and ways to make a real difference to patients in community care and to further enhance this we are now recruiting to newly established Clinical Director positions, to cement and develop our clinical leadership. Further information:

Find out more

To find out more please email Dr Cath Jenson.

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