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How World Cancer Day can inspire NHS staff to help in the development of new healthcare innovation

On World Cancer Day (4th February), Scottish Healthcare Innovations Ltd (SHIL) – marking its 20th anniversary this year – is encouraging staff from across NHS Scotland to submit their innovative ideas for improving the delivery of healthcare

How World Cancer Day can inspire NHS staff to help in the development of new healthcare innovation image

Scottish Healthcare Innovations Ltd (SHIL) specialises in identifying and developing new ideas to help solve problems and address needs in health and social care, and the organisation believes that NHS staff have a critical role to play in developing fresh solutions for patients.

SHIL’s multidisciplinary team works in partnership with the NHS, industry and academia to help bring these new ideas and innovations from healthcare professionals to life, making unique skills and expertise available across Scotland.

The organisation takes a people-led approach by focussing on the individual talent within the NHS, drawing on the diversity of roles, direct experience, and deep understanding of the challenges we are looking to collectively overcome.

For SHIL, it is important to unlock the know-how and first-hand experience of NHS staff in order to improve treatment and patient care. This is why, on World Cancer Day, the organisation is encouraging any NHS employee to submit their ideas for improving healthcare treatment.

The campaign for World Cancer Day recognises every single one of us has the ability to make an impact, large or small, and that together we can make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer. This is an important message for anyone across health and social care in Scotland who has an idea that could positively impact on cancer diagnosis, treatment or care, as well as more generally and we continue seek new ideas that might help us navigate the pandemic.

SHIL offers an opportunity for NHS staff to submit ideas for review. The team then assess those ideas, before starting to fast track those with the greatest potential.

“NHS staff have played an invaluable role in healthcare innovation over the last 20 years. We are thankful for their contributions and believe that they can continue driving improvements across the spectrum of healthcare,” explains Executive Chair Graham Watson.

“For us, it is about continuing to harness this entrepreneurial talent, accelerating impactful healthcare innovations and having a positive impact on health, social and economic outcomes in Scotland,” continues Mr Watson.

“Every idea is valuable and the scale of the particular challenge should not deter health and social care staff from coming to us with an idea. Indeed, SHIL spin-out Aurum Biosciences’ stroke therapy and diagnostic provides a great example of an idea originating within the NHS which has the potential to transform the lives of patients in an area of significant unmet clinical need.

“On World Cancer Day we want to stress the importance of healthcare innovation and, for us, that is about fully realising the potential within our NHS and broader life sciences sector - harnessing the vast talent pool across Scotland to provide better treatment and care.”

As a publicly funded company SHIL has brought more than 250 inventions to fruition across the healthcare sector, and during the pandemic the organisation has played an important role in the ongoing COVID response.

This role has included assessing tomorrow’s innovations, providing expert intellectual property and regulatory advice, and encouraging health professionals to submit their ideas through dedicated innovation calls.

Ideas developed during this period include the SARUS CPR hood which provides a simple barrier to disease transmission risks faced by CPR personnel enabling safe resuscitation; and further development of the SCRAM™ Bag for use by the military in supporting safer airway management on scene and helping get patients to hospital more quickly.

“These are just two examples of NHS supported ingenuity during the pandemic, and products that have gone from idea to fully manufactured product in use across NHS and beyond. We will continue to provide our expert innovation services across health and social care, encouraging those who work within health and social care to keep coming forward to submit their ideas, whilst identifying specific areas of unmet need and NHS-led ideas that are ripe for further innovation,” explains Mr Watson.

SHIL’s aims for 2022 include NHS priority areas, and over the next year the organisation will be launching further targeted innovation calls for the submission of innovative ideas from health care professionals that can be developed into new products and technologies, positively impacting on the services that they provide.

Whilst NHS Scotland is facing considerable specific challenges as a result of the ongoing pandemic, other significant but more general healthcare challenges persist. SHIL aims to play an increasingly important role in connecting, inspiring, educating and supporting the health innovation community in 2022 and beyond.

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