Annual Review 2017/18

Driving growth

As an Academic Health Science Network, we work across the NHS and industry to support innovation-related growth. Our work to help industry navigate the NHS not only improves care for people through improving access to new innovations, it creates jobs and drives growth.

Our work to accelerate and grow innovations ranges from our Small Grants programme supporting national and regional innovation accelerator programmes – the NHS Innovation Accelerator and DigitalHealth.London Accelerator.


‘Using video games to make physiotherapy fun’

Read how one company is transforming rehabilitation through video games and digital technology here

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator
Key statistics from first cohort (Sept 16 – Sept 17)

Funding to kickstart growth of the brightest health innovations

The South London Small Grants programme is run in partnership with Health Education England and offers grants of up to £10,000. This money is so that local teams with bright ideas that could help to address the gaps in the Five Year Forward View, can access the vital funding that can make all the difference in getting an innovation to the point it can start to spread and make a real difference to people’s lives. In 2017/18, South London Small Grants awarded £115,477 to 12 projects, including:

• Digital Diabetes Education: a digital education tool that takes structured diabetes education to hard-to-reach groups with poor diabetes health outcomes. This eight week programme involves online resources as well as motivational interviewing from a health trainer, supporting people to manage their diabetes.

• Meeting the mental health needs of children and young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): this project is a collaboration between health and education, providing training and education to teachers on mental health for children with ASD. It also provides group interventions for young people with ASD and their parents.

• New Beginning: a project to train maternity staff in experience-based co-design methodology so that they can use this in their future work – and most importantly to listen to women and staff about their experiences and work with them to make changes in the obstetric operating theatre.

Speeding up the adoption of new technology in London’s NHS

As one of the founding partners in DigitalHealth.London, we continued to support the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme in 2017/18. Working with 20 – 30 high potential start-ups and SMEs each year, at any stage of the innovation cycle, we support them to develop and deploy solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing the NHS, navigating complex NHS systems and advising on how to evidence and scale their approach.

The Accelerator achieved a key milestone in September 2017 when it completed its first cohort of 30 high-potential small and medium sized companies, including a digital lifestyle management platform that can reverse Type 2 diabetes, and a “USB port for the body” that can host a bionic limb. In February 2018, four additional Regional Digital Health Accelerators were launched for the first time in the East Midlands, Manchester, South West England, and Kent Surrey and Sussex.

Supporting the NHS Innovation Accelerator

Working with other AHSNs across the country, we are a key partner in the NHS Innovation Accelerator, a national programme that supports dedicated individuals (‘Fellows’) to scale their high impact, evidence-based innovations across the NHS and wider healthcare system. An independent evaluation of the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), published in March 2018, demonstrated the impact of the NIA in encouraging greater uptake of healthcare innovations and bringing positive outcomes for patient and population benefit. The NIA year one evaluation is available to read and download here and a podcast series sharing insight and learning from the evaluation is available here.

NHS Innovation Accelerator achievements to April 2018

New Innovation Exchange to strengthen support to companies

Established at the end of 2017 and part of a national Office of Life Sciences funded programme, our Innovation Exchange is designed to support companies to speed up the adoption of innovations to improve patient care, clinical outcomes and generate savings. The team has provided one to one support to innovators ranging from clinicians who have developed patient management tools to start-ups who have invented medical devices. These promising innovations will improve patient care whilst driving economic growth. Partners across south London have been engaged to increase the likelihood of the successful development and adoption of these innovations, with further progress expected in the coming year.