New funding opportunities April

We try to make this as relevant to you as possible so please let us know if there is anything we have missed that you feel should be included.

Featured Funding Opportunities:

NIHR i4i Connect 6 Deadline: 27 April 2022
Connect 6; aimed at SMEs in need of a funding boost to reach their next stage in the development pathway and accelerate the development of promising medical technologies. Offering up to £150,000 over a maximum of 12 month period, i4i Connect helps SMEs get to the point where they can apply for further funding, in particular for a full i4i Product Development Award, or to support projects at any stage of the translational research and development pathway to further de-risk them for follow on investment.  

NIHR i4i – Product Development Awards Call 24 Deadline: 10 May 2022
The NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) programme invites proposals to Call 24 of its researcher-led Product Development Awards (PDA). PDAs fund the development of disruptive early-stage medical technologies that address existing or emerging healthcare needs.

General Funding Opportunities:

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. 

UK-Singapore Collaborative R&D Deadline: 20 April 2022
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million for the purpose of developing innovative proposals with Singapore.

Biomedical Catalyst 2022 round one: industry-led R&DDeadline: 25 May 2022
UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprises can apply for a share of up to £15 million to develop innovative solutions to health and healthcare challenges.

Analysis for Innovators (A4I) round seven mini projects Deadline 20 April 2022
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million to resolve productivity and competitiveness issues by working with top scientists and research facilities.

Innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application – feasibility Deadline: 1 June 2022
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4.7 million for business led innovation in resilient time, frequency and synchronisation.

Innovation in time resilience, dissemination and application – demonstrator Deadline: 1 June 2022
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £4.7 million for business led innovation in resilient time, frequency and synchronisation.

Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2022 to 2023, round two Deadline: 15 June 2022
UK registered academic institutions, research and technology organisations (RTOs) or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £8 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not for profits organisations.

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

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 Deadline: 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.

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.

Open call for innovation in cancer diagnosis Deadline: 24 May 2022
SBRI Healthcare: NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced a £15 million funding competition for innovation to go to the open market in the field of cancer. This competition invites applications for funding to implement solutions in late-stage development into front-line settings to improve early detection and diagnosis of cancer.

Health Technology Regulatory and Innovation Programme Deadline: 31 May 2022
The programme will support SMEs that rely on external expertise to commercialise new products, or re-register existing products in-line with new regulatory requirements.

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.

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCIL (ESRC)

ESRC Research Grant Deadline: 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.

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). Deadline: 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 Deadline: 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 Deadline: 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 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:
The Global Challenges Research Fund
The Newton Fund
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program

Over 100 clinicians to champion CVD Prevention in south London

Over 100 clinicians working in primary care in south London have today (Monday 21 March 2022) been welcomed on to the Health Innovation Network’s (HIN) first ever Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention Fellowship.

This free HIN programme is designed to help improve outcomes for patients across south London who are at risk of CVD by supporting clinicians working in primary care to develop their skills and knowledge and champion CVD prevention in their practice or wider Primary Care Network.

In total there are 104 Fellows who are either pharmacists, GPs, practice nurses or physician associates. From Richmond to Bexley all 12 south London boroughs are represented and Fellows come from a range of backgrounds and are representative of the communities they serve.

The programme will provide free expert clinical advice and quality improvement support to help Fellows become CVD prevention champions. It will also help them identify and implement specific local CVD prevention initiatives in their practice and local area.

With six million people living with CVD in England with a combined cost of £16 billion every year improving outcomes for at risk patients is an NHS priority. This programme will help to speed up the adoption of innovative initiatives to help prevent CVD across south London.

Applications to the programme have now closed.

Dr Roy Jogiya, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Clinical Director, Health Innovation Network, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome over 100 clinicians to our first ever Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Fellowship. This is an exciting learning opportunity that will include teaching from a number of national experts in cardiovascular disease. This will empower Fellows to be up to date in their knowledge base and feel more confident in managing cardiovascular disease prevention within their community of pratice.”

Oliver Brady, Programme Director for CVD Prevention, Health Innovation Network, said:

“It is fantastic that so many clinicians from a wide variety of backgrounds applied to be Fellows. And it is great that every borough of south London is represented on the programme. We will support these Fellows to champion cardiovascular disease prevention in their local area and together we have the opportunity to make a real difference to people who are at risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Running from April to October and culminating with a graduation ceremony in November the programme will consist of six monthly lunch time webinars led by experts in a range of areas including lipid management, hypertension and atrial fibrillation. There will also be ongoing Improvement Collaborative sessions and peer to peer networking opportunities.

Get in touch

For more information about our Cardiovascular team and the CVD Prevention Fellowship Programme, please get in touch.

Contact us

What has working through a pandemic taught us about recruitment?

Post Title

In our latest blog Rayvathi John, Health Innovation Network People Lead, reflects on how we get the recruitment process right and what is important in the hiring process in an ever competitive employment market.

Getting recruitment right, for every post, it is crucial to ensure not just that our important work is completed to a high level, but also that we engender the right culture at any organisation. A lot has changed in the way we hire and onboard our new starters at the Health Innovation Network (HIN) over the last two years. We have made some significant changes, and I am keen to share some of my experiences.

As People Lead, there are two questions I ask myself when it comes to recruitment.

The first is what is important in the hiring process? Is it simply finding the right candidate who can do the job or appointing the right candidate through a fair process which is without any hiring biases? NHS appointments and recruitment systems are robust and compliant with the Equality Act. This helps mitigate some of the issues of unfair practices at the application stage.

The second question is how can we attract the right candidates? How can we be the employer of choice? Gone are the days where it was the employer’s market. With globalisation and the HIN being located in the capital of the country, it is important to be competitive in the employment market. This is getting harder for the NHS as the demands of the workforce have changed and many more employers are also offering great pension schemes and improved work life balance schemes. So, how can we sell and promote our job roles to attract the right candidate where we have limitations in what we can offer to the candidate? How can we seek the best candidate from across the sectors to make NHS teams reflect with wider experience?

So what does attract candidates?

According to Hays’ data, 62 percent of professionals would be willing to take a pay cut for a job with more purpose. “Money is important, but it’s about having that compelling purpose and visions,” says Cathy Donnelly, Sr Director, Talent at Liberty IT. “We need to help people understand the difference they can make.” We are fortunate at the HIN that our jobs do have purpose and make a difference to NHS staff and patients and innovators in south London and we need to demonstrate our understanding of that. For example some of our latest projects have demonstrated the value that remote consultations, teledermatology, and virtual wards can add.

This is why it is vital during interviews that we promote the projects the HIN undertakes and the impact they have on the lives of patients and society – did you know that one of our Innovation Grant funded projects provided health checks for 441 people across six health clinics at local Black Caribbean and Black African Churches, a Tamil template and two mosques? We need to ‘recruit with reputation’ by emphasising our values of being kind, brave, open, together and different, so candidates are able to feel the culture as well as the work we deliver.

We were able to put this into practice in 2020 and 2021 when we had a number of business-critical appointments in the organisation, including a new CEO and a Chair. The process for the appointment of the CEO and Chair was intense but with a clear expectation that we wanted to appoint based on merit with equality of opportunity for all. Jobs were advertised externally on NHS jobs, NHS Executives, LinkedIn and Twitter for maximum coverage.

We engaged with stakeholders who know how the HIN operates and how the success of the appointment would be measured, including using our key external stakeholders, Board members, diverse panels and our host organisation. As with all recruitments, there was a need to balance conducting an efficient process but making sure the right candidate was appointed so that there was not an adverse impact on the HIN’s performance.

Having been a candidate using NHS Jobs or Trac to apply for a vacancy, I have at times felt extremely frustrated trying to complete the online application form. I am sure all the applicants who applied to the role of the CEO and Chair might have felt the same frustration. While the application process can still do with some improvement, the improvements to the anonymous shortlisting and online working have helped make the process run more smoothly and is a practical step to protect against bias.

We are a great place to work and we invest a lot of time getting our recruitment right. As we continue our journey towards becoming an outstanding organisation, we will be focusing on improving the responsiveness of our services, and looking for innovative ways to further promote equality, diversity and inclusion in our recruitment process.

If you would like to share your innovative ways of recruitment or if you need more information on our processes, please feel free to connect with me at rayvathi.john1@nhs.net.

Reference:

www.peoplemanagement.co.uk/long-reads/articles/how-be-employer-choice-talent-attraction-retention

New funding opportunities March

We try to make this as relevant to you as possible so please let us know if there is anything we have missed that you feel should be included.

Featured Funding Opportunities:

Commercialising quantum technologies: feasibility studies round 3 Deadline: 9 March 2022
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £6 million for projects to advance the commercialisation of quantum technologies in the UK.

Wellcome Discovery Awards: Deadline: 24 March 2022
This scheme provides funding for established researchers and teams/co-applicants (which can include commercial businesses) from any discipline who want to pursue bold and creative research ideas to deliver significant shifts in understanding that could improve human life, health and wellbeing.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP): 2021 to 2022, round 1 Deadline: 6 April 2022 
UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £8 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profits.

Open call for innovation in cancer diagnosis Deadline: 24 May 2022
SBRI Healthcare: NHS England and NHS Improvement have announced a £15 million funding competition for innovation to go to the open market in the field of cancer. This competition invites applications for funding to implement solutions in late-stage development into front-line settings to improve early detection and diagnosis of cancer.

Health Technology Regulatory and Innovation Programme Deadline: 31 May
SMEs working in HealthTech can apply for up to £30,000 of funding for use with regulatory affairs providers, to help navigate regulatory pathways. If you’re interested in applying, the KSS AHSN team can help connect you with a regulatory expert for this application. Email Alastair Kirby for more information.

General Funding Opportunities:

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. 

Eureka Eurostars 3: call 2 Deadline: 24 March 2022
UK registered SMEs can apply for a share of up to £2.5million to develop collaborative research in partnership with organisations from participating Eureka Eurostars member countries.

Innovate UK Smart Grants Deadline: 13 April 2022
UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £25 million for game-changing and commercially viable R&D innovation that can significantly impact the UK economy. 

UK-Singapore Collaborative R&D Deadline: 20 April 2022
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £3 million for the purpose of developing innovative proposals with Singapore.

Biotechnological and Biological 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

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: Deadline: Open
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.

Defence Innovation Loans Deadline: 16 March 2022
These innovation Loans are an opportunity for single small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with solutions to defence themed problems to apply for a Defence Innovation Loan to help develop and convert their mature innovation into a viable business proposition.

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.

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.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) 

ESRC Research Grant Deadline: 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.

Healthcare technologies investigator-led grant Deadline: 31 March 2022
Your application should be in line with the grand challenges of our healthcare technologies theme, e.g., developing future therapies with technologies that enhance efficacy, minimise costs and reduce risks to patients; frontiers of physical intervention, restoring physical function and optimising surgery and other physical interventions with high precision and minimal invasiveness; optimising treatment through effective diagnosis, patient-specific prediction and evidence-based intervention; or transforming community health and care by using real-time information to support patients managing their own health and wellbeing and to allow healthcare professionals to make timely interventions.

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.

Q Exchange 2022 Deadline: TBC
This year our Q Exchange partnership with the NHS draws on their digital health and care expertise for the theme: Bringing together the worlds and methods of improvement and digital, to enable better outcomes and faster, more sustainable change.​

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

MedTech NAVIGATOR Innovation Grants Deadline: Open

The MedTech NAVIGATOR Innovation Grants are designed to facilitate such bespoke interactions between SMEs and eligible Knowledge Providers, such as an NHS Trust, or a University, during the product development process. Each Innovation Grant (up to £7,500) is worth 50 per cent of the total project costs up to a maximum of £15,000. Your business must pay the remaining 50 per cent and any project costs over and above the £15,000 cap.

The British Business Bank (BBB). Deadline: 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 Deadline: 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 Deadline: 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

Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021-2022: Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society – Cluster 2. Deadline: 6 April 2022

Horizon Europe has a wide variety of open calls for culture, creativity and inclusive society, with closing dates in September 2021 or April 2022. Horizon Europe has a wide variety of open calls for culture, creativity and inclusive society, with closing dates in September 2021 or April 2022. Some of these also include AI, big data, digital tech, materials and health.

Global Innovation Fund 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:
The Global Challenges Research Fund
The Newton Fund
Grants available to UK through US Defense – medical research program

Helping young people get rapid and specialist support for their eating disorder

News

Post Title

To mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week FREED Champion Dr Kirsty Manning, South West London & St George’s Adults Eating Disorders Service, shares her experiences about how FREED is helping young people get the rapid and specialised support they need for their eating disorders.

Did you know?

Since the start of the AHSN National EIED Programme:

  • 33 Eating Disorders Services across England have adopted FREED
  • We have recruited 45 FREED Champions across England
  • 960 young people have accessed evidence-based treatment, on average 10-12 weeks faster than treatment as usual

What is First Episode Early Intervention for Eating Disorders (FREED)?

Eating disorders are severe, often life-threatening mental health conditions that frequently begin in adolescence or early adulthood. The first three years of illness onset offer a window for effective early intervention in order to achieve full, enduring, recovery. However, difficulties recognising and acknowledging problems early, and poor access to services are key barriers to early interventions in eating disorders.

FREED aims to address these difficulties by reducing treatment waiting times and therefore the duration of untreated eating disorders in young people who are experiencing the illness for the first time.

Designed for 16-25 year olds, FREED is driven by the key principles of health care for young people: holistic, proactive and optimistic. It encourages flexibility and creativity in how professionals and services approach, and work with, young people. For example, treatment incorporates the impact of social media and major life transitions (e.g. in education, work, living circumstances, relationships) on individuals and their eating difficulties.

Is FREED making a difference?

All the data to date is really positive and supports the effectiveness of FREED across diverse treatment settings. Patients wait significantly less time between referral and assessment, and between assessment and treatment. What’s even more encouraging is that FREED patients tend to require less intensive treatment and are more likely to maintain their progress after treatment than non-FREED patients.

Direct feedback from patients also shows that in general they feel supported and understood by the service, and families also feel involved. For example, I worked with a young girl who was referred to us after presenting to her GP with her mother with a very low weight and really bad body image. The same day I tried to give her a call but couldn’t get an answer. I then sent a text and got an immediate response. The girl expressed difficulty talking on the phone, so we chatted through text to help her get comfortable and we arranged an assessment for the following week. She later told me that had we not had that initial contact she probably would never have attended.

At assessment, it appeared that her anorexia nervosa had developed and spiralled very quickly within a year. I encouraged her to bring her parents to the assessment who were really relieved to be included as they felt lost and helpless. This young girl was offered treatment two weeks later and we started to see changes almost immediately. Her parents attended our service’s workshops to help them develop understanding and skills to best support their daughter.

This young person’s journey is not over yet, and it has proven to be really challenging for her. But intervening early has meant that she stopped losing weight, has already got insight into her difficulties and is motivated to recover so she can go to university next year. Had there not been the FREED pathway, she would still be on the waiting list right now, without any support to make positive changes and therefore most likely deteriorating or stagnating.

What is it like to be a FREED Champion?

Being a FREED champion is a really exciting and novel role where you get to be involved in so many aspects of the service. For example, you might get involved in business meetings about funding and investment which really give you insight into how Trusts and services work, and how all these details impact our clinical work and staffing.

You also receive really good support and supervision from the FREED network and get to meet peers across the country who you can share ideas on how to implement FREED and improve your service with. For example, recently many FREED champions expressed interest in MANTRA groups for individuals with anorexia nervosa so a webinar was organised to help us think about how we could implement this model in our services.

One of the best things about FREED is that it is optimistic and aims to instil hope in others. It pays special attention to the challenges young people face during the critical years of their life as they transition to adulthood, making it much more effective than traditional service models at reversing the changes to brain, body and behaviour caused by eating disorders. As a result, young people are less likely to miss out on study, relationships and other opportunities because of their illness.

Finally, it’s also exciting to be part of something so innovative. For me, a real highlight is having a genuine and meaningful impact on service provision for young people, making sure that they have access to evidence-based treatment when they need it. All the data and feedback collected shows significant improvements and less need for intensive treatments, highlighting just how important this pathway is.

Further information about the FREED National Programme

The AHSN Network in partnership with South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and Kings College London (KCL) are leading on the national scaling of FREED (First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders).

FREED is an innovative service for 16 to 25-year-olds who have had an eating disorder for three years or less, enabling rapid access to specialised treatment which gives special attention to challenges we know young people face during these years of their life, and in the early stages of an eating disorder.

We are working with 33 eating disorder services who have adopted FREED and supporting implementation at a further 12 Trusts who anticipate to launch their FREED service by Summer 2022.

As leaders in spread and adoption, the AHSN Network in collaboration with SLaM/KCL provides early and ongoing support to services interested in adopting FREED, working with the wider system to ensure all young people across England have rapid access to treatment by 2023.

Further information

Find out more about FREED and their work.

Click here

We're here to help

Get in touch for more information about the HIN's Mental Health theme and their work around eating disorders.

Get in touch

How getting people involved can help make the NHS even better

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Catherine Dale, HIN Programme Director for Patient Safety and Experience and Sophie Lowry, Implementation and Involvement Manger, provide an update on the HIN’s Involvement Strategy – also a key theme of lively discussions in episode 2 of our Looking After The NHS podcast series now available for listening.

Catherine Dale reflects on episode two of our Looking After the NHS podcast:

“The mechanic doesn’t ask me where they need to put the fanbelt. So why should healthcare experts, who have trained for years, have to listen to someone else?” 

Ayo Chike-Michael and I get to grips with this issue in Episode 2 of our podcast series ‘Looking After the NHS’ which I am delighted to say you can now listen to below.

In this episode we are joined by Cristina Serrão – Lived Experience Ambassador in the Experience of Care Team at NHS England and Improvement. If you want to find out the answer to this question – give it a listen.

We have a great discussion about how involving people in the design and development of services can make the NHS even better. We cover a range of topics including why we should involve patients and what co-production actually looks like in reality. We also grapple with a range of challenges around involvement and consider the benefits, including reducing health inequalities.

I loved recording this episode, Cristina has a real wealth of insights and her passion for involvement is truly infectious! Involvement really is a real priority for me and for the HIN, and I hope this episode brings to life why it is such an important topic for us to address.

Sophie Lowry provides an update on the HIN's Involvement Strategy:

Over the last few months Catherine and I have been working with colleagues and people who live and work in south London to develop the HIN’s Involvement Strategy. We heard:

“No one person, no one part of the system knows the 'right' answer.”
“Patients are people who are more than their condition and diagnosis.”
“You can’t do innovation without involvement.”

Well, here at the HIN we wholeheartedly agree with all of these statements.

This week we brought together some of the people who have contributed to our Involvement Strategy to update them on the progress we have made and also to gather feedback on our emerging approach and delivery plan. This was the first opportunity we had to meet some people in person, and we felt such a buzz being able to socialise in person and use real post-it notes! We were also able to trial a “hybrid” approach, with some people dialling in to join in the discussion. It provided a great opportunity to connect, and our Chief Executive Rishi Das Gupta was able to thank people first hand for their insights, ideas and experiences that are centre stage of our Strategy.

We were delighted to hear that there was broad consensus that we have the basis of a strong strategy, one that will make a real difference to the way which we work and to the impact we have on local health and care systems. We were also pleased to hear that people were encouraged by the fact they could see the outputs from the workshop feeding into the strategy.

You may be asking “why does the HIN need an Involvement Strategy”? Well, we want to build on the HIN’s history of involvement and co-design activity and create a more embedded and consistent approach. We truly believe that the best way to achieve the HIN’s mission to ‘speed up the best of health and care together’, is to work in partnership with people in south London. As we believe that, by sharing their insights and knowledge, people with lived experience of health and social care services can help us to improve and innovate health and social care.

That is why this strategy, and the plan that will deliver it, has been co-developed with people with lived experience, HIN colleagues, other partners and stakeholders (over 65 people in total). We have had some incredibly open and honest discussions looking at both the psychological and practical barriers to involvement and how they can be overcome. And we believe that this transparency has been vital in developing a meaningful strategy that will make a genuine difference.

Catherine and I are so grateful for everyone’s ongoing support in helping to get this right. We will now work to finalise the Strategy and look forward to publishing it shortly and working with our colleagues, both at the HIN and wider, to put it into practice!

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Applications open for the HIN’s first ever Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Fellowship programme

The Health Innovation Network has launched a new Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention Fellowship Programme to develop clinical skills and knowledge to help improve outcomes for patients across south London who are at risk of CVD.

Did you know?

  • Six million people live with CVD in England
  • CVD results in £16 billion in combined costs every year
  • It causes one death every four minutes
*NICE Impact – Cardiovascular  disease prevention (September 2021)

This free programme is the first of its kind and is aimed at nurses, GPs and pharmacists working in primary care in south London who are keen to develop their skills and knowledge and champion CVD prevention in their practice or wider Primary Care Network.

It is Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited and will provide free expert clinical advice and quality improvement support to help fellows become CVD prevention champions. It will also help them identify and implement specific local CVD prevention initiatives in their practice and local area.

Running from April to October 2022 and culminating with a graduation ceremony in November the programme will consist of six monthly lunch time webinars led by experts in a range of areas including lipid management, hypertension and atrial fibrillation. There will also be ongoing Community of Practice sessions and peer to peer networking opportunities.

With six million people living with CVD in England with a combined cost of £16 billion every year improving outcomes for at risk patients is an NHS priority. This programme will help to speed up the adoption of innovative initiatives to help prevent CVD across south London.

Applications for the programme have now closed.

“We are delighted to launch our first ever CVD Prevention Fellowship Programme. Our free programme will be delivered by experts in their field and will arm clinicians with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to drive forward innovative schemes and make a real difference to patients at risk of CVD in their area.”Oliver Brady, CVD Prevention Programme Director, Health Innovation Network

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Applications open for HIN and My Home Life’s Care Home Pioneer Programme 2022

The Health Innovation Network and My Home Life are delighted to announce the fourth Care Home Pioneer Programme – a  leadership support and professional development programme delivered FREE of charge to Care Home Managers, Deputies, and Senior Nurses to advance their skills, facilitate personal growth and enable them to effectively manage the complex everyday issues that impact on the quality of their service.

Did you know?

  • Since the programme started in 2017, 23 managers have attended from South East London and 21 from South West London
  • The Pioneer programme has had representatives from all of the South London boroughs

The ‘Pioneers’ programme is a collaboration between My Home Life England and Health Innovation Network, which has delivered leadership development to 44 care home managers across South London, over 3 cohorts since 2017.

The Care Home Pioneer Programme will use Action Learning techniques which involve experiential learning through a continuous process of action, learning and reflection, supported by colleagues, with an intention of improving practice. The Pioneers will also work alongside mentors from the HIN to deliver a service improvement project within their care homes, such as reducing falls or improving oral health.

The FREE programme is jointly funded by care home commissioners and the NHS, and will consist of a combination of four workshops and nine monthly action learning sets. At the end of the programme, there will be a graduation day to celebrate all that has been achieved and to welcome you into the Pioneer Alumni. 

This infographic highlights key feedback from Pioneers who took part in the programme from 2020-2021.

Pioneer, Cohort 3, Care Home Pioneers, said: It’s not a training programme. We are learning from one another. The impact of it has given me a huge amount of confidence to deal with things differently.”

Pioneer, Cohort 3, Care Home Pioneers, said: “I have introduced daily team meeting with the nurses which has helped to boost self-esteem as they are able to discuss any difficulties they may have in their work”

George Croft, Healthy Ageing Project Support Officer, Health Innovation Network, said: “The feedback from the Pioneers shows that the programme has played an important role in supporting care home managers during the toughest times that the sector has faced in its history, arming leaders with an array of skills and confidence to engage with wider clinical services to help keep residents safe.”

Further information

Find out more about the programme and how to apply.

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Reflections on Cohort 3’s Care Home Pioneers Graduation event

Cohort 3 of the Care Home Pioneer programme took place amidst the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that all the programme’s sessions were held via Zoom. As a result, the graduation event presented an opportunity for the Pioneer care home leaders to meet in person for the first time. George Croft, the Healthy Ageing Team’s Project Support Officer, reflects on the day.

Key information

  • The Pioneer programme has graduates represented across all the south London boroughs.

  • 14 Care Home Managers started Cohort 3 of the Pioneer programme, 9 of whom went on to take part in the Quality Improvement workshops.

  • 100% of Pioneers who completed the final session feedback survey reported the skills that they learned as part of the whole programme were useful and effective in their everyday role.

On Tuesday 2 November, the Health Innovation Network (HIN) and My Home Life came together at Southwark Cathedral to celebrate the achievements of the third cohort of south London Care Home Pioneers.  The Pioneer Programme is a leadership development programme for care home managers and senior care home nurses based in south London. The HIN has run the Pioneer programme since 2018 in partnership with My Home Life, an organisation working to support quality of life for all people who live, die, work and visit in care homes.

When I joined the HIN in March 2021, I was excited to witness first-hand how the HIN’s work impacted the lives of people working “on the ground” in health and social care. My time so far supporting the Pioneer programme has proven to me the value that projects like ours can bring to the care sector and those who work within it.

At the graduation event, seven Care Home Pioneers joined us to not only celebrate their achievement of taking part in the programme but also to acknowledge the strength and compassion that they demonstrated whilst caring for their residents during the coronavirus pandemic. The Pioneers reflected that the Action Learning sessions fostered a “wellness space” as well as a way of “checking out of work and checking in with colleagues” for a few hours every couple of weeks. One care home manager explained passionately that the sessions were “where I would go to recharge my batteries, they gave me courage during difficult conversations” – a remark that has stuck with me in the weeks after the event.

Care home staff have long felt undervalued in comparison to their NHS colleagues [recently highlighted in BBC One’s Inside the Care Crisis with Ed Balls] and the Pioneer programme is one way that we can help arm leaders with a “portfolio of tools” as one Pioneer put it. Another care home manager mentioned that the programme helped her “learn how to delegate better, helped my home develop shared decision making, and hand more responsibility to staff, which reduced my stress and helped me gain a better work/life balance.”

The Action Learning component of the programme was led by My Home Life facilitator Danuta Lipinska, who commented – “I certainly felt quite emotional, not only to meet these hardy Pioneers, but to be reminded of what they had all endured and survived, and were now thriving, even though the Covid-19 virus is still with us… We celebrated the achievements of these dedicated and selfless women and men and applauded loudly as we awarded well deserved certificates to the Pioneers. We wish them continued success and stamina in the months that follow, safe in the knowledge that they are not alone and have forged strong relationships with one another and are Associates of the My Home Life and HIN community – a compassionate, skilled and formidable presence in south London.”

When the Pioneers signed up for the programme, none of them expected to be taking part in virtual workshops, with all the demands that being a care home manager brings erupting in the background. Whilst helping deliver the HIN’s quality improvement element of the programme over Zoom, it was clear to me that there were a lot of exhausted faces in the room, even after the peak of the pandemic. Cohort 3’s graduates told us that whilst the programme would have been better delivered face-to-face (which the HIN would traditionally do), a hybrid of some virtual sessions would also be helpful on occasion for future cohorts.

“The feedback from the Pioneers shows that the programme has played an important role in supporting care home managers during the toughest times that the sector has faced in its history, arming leaders with an array of skills and confidence to engage with wider clinical services to help keep residents safe.”George Croft, Healthy Ageing Project Support Officer, Health Innovation Network

Whilst covid restrictions have been lifted, significant challenges remain for care homes. The existing workforce issues have been elevated further by staff burnout, as well as the government’s announcement that vaccination against Covid-19 is to become a condition of deployment in care homes. However, the feedback from the Pioneers shows that the programme has played an important role in supporting care home managers during the toughest times that the sector has faced in its history, arming leaders with an array of skills and confidence to engage with wider clinical services to help keep residents safe. Working on Cohort 3 of the Pioneer programme has been a pleasure, and I look forward to future work that we can do to support alumni and future cohorts.

The HIN are in the process of securing funding for Cohort 4 of the Pioneer programme, which will be co-designed alongside alumni of previous Pioneer cohorts, to deliver a programme that best meets the needs of care home leaders in south London.

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New report demonstrates how dermatology teams can re-design their services to streamline the patient pathway and reduce wait times

The Dermatology Improvement Collaborative was a bespoke quality improvement programme designed and delivered by the Health Innovation Network, Kent, Surrey and Sussex AHSN and supported by the Industry Dermatology Initiative (IDI). The programme was fully funded by the IDI and they also supported with the development of activities and outputs. The collaborative worked to support local south London and Surrey dermatology services to streamline the patient pathway and clear their backlog.

Key stats

  • In south west London it was found that 17% of dermatology appointments were being cancelled by the provider, compared to 10% Nationally in 2020
  • Across the three trusts in South East London, dermatology services received an average of 6750 referrals per month in 2019/20
  • It was found in Leeds and York that by using high quality dermatoscopic images, 9.5-33% of cases avoided a face-to-face consultation

Pre-pandemic, the referral to appointment time (RTT) was 16 percent over the 18-week marker in south west London and 31 per cent over in south east London. Covid-19 dramatically worsened the situation as a result of Consultant Dermatologists and other operational staff being redeployed to deal with the pandemic response, therefore further increasing patient waiting times.

However, with funding from NHSX to accelerate the introduction of teledermatology in south east and south west London ICSs, the Dermatology Improvement Collaborative was able to support each ICS to implement new technology which aim to reduce wait times for patients.

The focus for south east London ICS was utilising their clinical resources more effectively, particularly in clinical triage and referral. A technology platform was implemented to manage clinical virtual review. A joint consultant rota was generated where consultants across the three NHS Trusts in south east London could review referrals before they are actioned, in order to streamline clinical triage.

In south west London ICS it was about reducing waiting times for dermatology appointments in secondary care. Educational videos were created to support patient and GP education of the treatment and management of skin conditions. As a result, GPs could make more informed decisions and therefore more appropriate referrals, which reduces wait times.

Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust sought solutions to address increasing service size and demand. For their two-week wait skin cancer referral pathway, they established teledermatology ‘photohubs’ across three north west Surrey locations. Employing healthcare assistants to take high quality images, which were uploaded securely to the Trust image database for review by the dermatology consultants. Next steps are to pilot the AI tool Skin Analytics in their services as part of the NHSX’s Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award.

“Like many across the country, Dermatology teams in south east and south west London were put under huge pressure during the pandemic, but by embracing new technology they saw the potential to improve their services. We hope the report into their success can help more dermatology services to transform their services through introduction of technology to help to reduce wait times for patients.”Lesley Soden, Programme Director of Innovation Theme, Health Innovation Network

A number of case studies were produced using the insights gathered and have now been translated into a report to share lessons learnt for all dermatology services wanting to implement teledermatology. These case studies will be being presented at the Conference: Govconnect – NHS Long Term Plan 2021 Meeting on 30th November 2021.

The IDI is a cross-industry collaboration to improve dermatology care and includes and is funded by the following member companies: Amgen, Eli Lilly and Company, LEO Pharma UK, Sanofi and UCB.

Date of preparation: September 2021                                 Document number: GB-NPS-0921-00004

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Looking After The NHS

We absolutely love the NHS. But let’s face it, it’s not perfect. Yet.

Do you know?

  • We developed the OnlyHuman campaign to support healthcare staff prioritise their wellbeing during the pandemic
  • King’s College Hospital have adopted the OnlyHuman approach
  • You can download the OnlyHuman project here.

In our brand new podcast Looking After The NHS Catherine Dale and Ayo ChikeMichael speak to guest experts all about how we can make the NHS even better.

Listen to episode one where we explore how to improve staff wellbeing and discuss our OnlyHuman project with Deputy Chief People Officer at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust, Ainne Dolan.

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