Innovation in the NHS

What is Innovation in the NHS?

Innovation is a focus of the NHS England Five Year Forward View and features in the NHS England Business Plan for 2016/17 as follows:

In common with health systems around the world, the NHS can benefit from new medicines, technologies and processes. We want to speed up the identification and dissemination of high value new approaches to improve outcomes for patients and increase efficiency, while at the same time promoting economic growth and inward investment in the life sciences”. (NHS England Business Plan 2016/17).

The department of Health defines innovation as:

“An idea, service or product, new to the NHS or applied in a way that is new to the NHS, which significantly improves the quality of health and care wherever it is applied”

(Department of Health, NHS Improvement & Efficiency. (2011).  Innovation, health and wealth: accelerating adoption and diffusion in the NHS). 

HSJ Awards 2016 winners revealed

The HSJ Awards were launched in 1981 to recognise the projects and initiatives that deliver healthcare excellence and innovation. This year there were prizes in 24 categories,

See the full list of winners below, and read a short profile of each winning project.

Click here for details of case studies

NHS and Healthcare Innovation Resources  

Listed below are some links to resources and information about innovation in the NHS and elsewhere to inspire you and inform you as to how you can get involved.

The main portal and links relating to innovation in the NHS can be found at

West Midlands Learning is a web portal highlighting resources, innovations and learning opportunities for workforce development.

Academy of Fab Stuff (view using Google Chrome) was developed by Roy Lilley and colleagues who claim that “The Academy is the place to share ideas about doing it right, boast about the good stuff and if you have a problem, the place to search for an answer. The NHS is so much better than it gets credit for, is so much more efficient than people think.  And, is keen to share, be collegiate, find the good stuff and pass it on”.

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) online version has a topic area covering Technology and Innovation, you can also access their archive of articles on innovation here.  To read the full text of articles you will need to sign in using the Francis Costello Library password.

(To find the Francis Costello Library password to HSJ, login to the journals A-Z using your Athens password here and search for Health Service Journal or contact library staff on ext. 4388).

Health Enterprise East (HEE) (view using Google Chrome) Based at Milton Hall in Cambridge, Health Enterprise East delivers technology advisory services and innovation management to industry and the NHS, helping to address the challenges faced along the product development pathway. HEE's experienced team works with NHS organisations nationally and medtech globally.

Kissing it Better is a not for profit charity interested in the promotion of sharing simple healthcare ideas. It is also about harnessing the energy of the most dynamic groups in a local community and inviting them to use their specialist skills to make a difference to the care of patients and their carers within hospitals and care homes. See also their ideas page and blog

Nesta is an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust has worked with 2Bio Ltd and Our Life to create an Innovation Toolkit to assist NHS Trusts to better develop an innovative culture within their organisation. It enables trusts to embed innovation as core trust business and supports trusts in delivering against innovation objectives. The Innovation Toolkit has been tested by a number of NHS Trusts to establish its suitability for use across a range of healthcare settings including acute trusts and community trusts.

Other Innovation Resources 
Innovation is of course not confined to healthcare and the NHS. We can also learn from other external organisations and their blogs.

Innovation Excellence according to their website is the online home of the global innovation community, building upon a rapidly-growing network with thousands of members from over 175 countries – thought leaders, executives, practitioners, consultants, vendors, and academia representing all sectors and industries.  Their mission is to broadly enhance innovation by providing a forum for connection and conversation across this community – assembling an ever-growing arsenal of resources, best practices and proven answers for achieving innovation excellence. You can subscribe to their blog here.  

Innovation Books and Reports
Please click here to see books and reports on Innovation, available from Francis Costello Library.