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Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) are encouraging health and social care professionals across Scotland to come up with innovative ideas to help people live well in later life or cope with long term health conditions.

Launched today (23 August) the new frailty innovation call offers a package of support - financial, project management and regulatory – to health and social care professionals. Frailty covers a range of disease and clinical specialties and although most commonly associated with older people, it is not defined by age and can apply to older people, but also to younger people living with living with chronic conditions.

Graham Watson, Executive Chairman at SHIL explains:

“Frailty is not dependent on age. You obviously associate it with older age, but it affects younger people living with long term conditions in the same way. We want to help transform the quality of people’s lives while at the same time helping NHS Scotland adapt to the changing demographics and increase in service use.  

 “We know there are major challenges ahead with an ageing population and Scotland’s future depends on true innovation. So we are seeking fresh ideas from the professionals in the field who understand the challenges of looking after people with chronic health conditions.

 “We have always had a terrific response from professionals in the past and some amazing ideas and innovations have been supported by SHIL and developed in Scotland.”

The innovation call is open to anyone working across NHS Scotland and is the third in a successful series of calls that use the experience, talent and knowledge of health and social care professionals.

Dr Robert Rea Head of Innovation at SHIL explains the subject choice:

“Frailty was chosen as a focus for this latest innovation call following discussions with colleagues across NHS who were united in the view that frailty is an important issue– with huge scope for new ideas and innovations to be developed.

 “It is very broad area – stroke, COPD, orthopaedics, ophthalmology – and importantly also applies to people, of all ages, living with long term chronic conditions. We have a solid record of developing ideas from within the NHS and had great response to our innovation calls last year.”

In Scotland, approximately 35 per cent of the population over 65 are identified as mildly frail, 15 per cent are moderately frail and five per cent are severely frail. As well as health related problems, several social factors, such as social isolation and deprivation, can increase the likelihood of someone becoming frail.

Dr Iain Morrison is a GP at Newbattle Practice in Midlothian and to respond to the challenge of frailty has implemented MidMed, a dedicated GP-led service for their patients living at home with moderate or severe frailty (as identified by the electronic Frailty Index). Dr Morrison highlights:

“Frailty is one of the greatest challenges the NHS in Scotland faces because of the changes to the national demographic. We all need to be thinking differently about how we respond to these challenges This might be a change in service such as the MidMed project we have implemented; but it might be an idea for a medical device, educational tool or piece of technology that helps people live longer with age and more complex health conditions. It is encouraging to see health and social care professionals being supported to come forward with new and innovative ideas to support this growing population.”

The call welcomes all new and innovative ideas - simple or complex; from any NHS health board and any role or medical discipline. SHIL have been working in partnership with NHS Scotland for over 20 years and have a solid track record of accelerating innovative ideas into products and services that are now used within the NHS, but also in health systems around the world.

Providing a route for NHS-initiated ideas is welcomed by chronic asthma patient, Olivia Fulton who was forced to give up a promising career in nursing and a love of sports when her condition became too difficult to manage.

Life for Olivia changed after a bout of pneumonia scarred her lungs during a gap year in Canada when she was 18. Her battle with asthma has been a struggle ever since and she explains.

“I feel asthma is often over-looked as a chronic long term health condition - even though it kills three people a day in the UK. I am delighted that SHIL has launched this call because asthma has massively affected my quality of life. All options to improve the quality of life of those living with debilitating conditions is needed and as a nurse myself I understand the knowledge and expertise that exists within the NHS. It is reassuring to see a route for ideas from within the health service to be taken forward”

Full details at

A briefing event takes place on 23 September providing full details and an opportunity to ask questions.

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