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Supporting innovation across NHS Scotland - Over 2000 ideas submitted by innovative health professionals

Supporting innovation across NHS Scotland - Over 2000 ideas submitted by innovative health professionals  image

Innovation is vital to our NHS. Yet it can be one of the toughest challenges in any organisation. Encouraging innovation, creativity and challenge of the status quo, while still maintaining everyday operations is not simple; especially when continuing to provide a high quality 24/7 health service.

Fortunately, through the support of Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL) and the unrivalled ability of health and social care professionals to come up with new ideas and practical solutions, innovation within NHS Scotland is thriving as SHIL marks a 2000 submission milestone!

Graham Watson, Executive Chairman at SHIL, comments:

“This a significant milestone for SHIL and testament to the talent and entrepreneurship within our health and social care services. These submissions are an important first step, but ultimately it is the development of these initial ideas into innovative solutions to improve patient care that validates the true success of our work at SHIL.”

From an initial idea, SHIL supports health and social care professionals through the innovation pathway, providing vital expertise including intellectual property advice, regulatory support, funding, project management and commercialisation expertise. As the only organisation set up to work with NHS Scotland on commercialisation activity, it is a strong and successful collaboration.

Gillian Henderson, Head of Project Management, comments:

“Over the years we have worked with many NHS inventors who are highly committed, industrious individuals with a vision to see their ideas realised. SHIL provides essential expertise to help achieve this. The strong model of collaboration we have with our inventors, with the NHS and with broader partners such as manufacturers and investors is vital. It ensures we bring together all the knowledge and expertise necessary to turn innovative ideas into a reality.”

The portfolio of innovative products and services developed since SHIL was founded in 2002 is testament to the model of helping to improve the lives of patients not only in Scotland but around the world:

Transforming lives – the first SHIL spin-out back in 2002, Touch Bionics launched the world’s first-ever powered prosthetic hand to include articulating fingers and went onto became a world leader in upper limb prosthetic technologies. It was purchased by Icelandic firm Ossur in 2016.

Supporting major treatment advances - a 2015 spin-out from SHIL, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and University of Glasgow, Aurum Biosciences’ lead product ABL101 is the first major advancement in the management of acute ischaemic stroke patients in the past 20 years and has the potential to save and improve thousands of lives around the world.

Making a difference in emergency situations – the SCRAM™ portfolio of innovative emergency airway bags, invented by Paul Swinton, Air Ambulance Paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service, launched in 2013. The products are used by high-performance teams in both the pre-hospital and hospital environment, with use of the SCRAM® system resulting in safer performance of Pre-Hospital Emergency Anaesthesia, with potential to reduce on-scene time by up to a third.

Advancing surgical innovation around the world – a 2013 spin-out, Clear Surgical’s portfolio of innovative medical devices are currently used in Japan, China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and many European countries including Italy, Czech Republic and the Nordic countries.

Getting treatment to patients quicker – the Patient Transfer Scale, invented by an NHS Lanarkshire Emergency Department nurse, was launched in 2018. It has secured numerous awards and is now available in 33 countries worldwide, enabling immobile patients to be weighted more quickly and easily to support medication dosage.

Supporting digital transformation – a 2007 SHIL spin-out, Aridhia’s cloud-based data analysis platform AnalytiXagility is used by ground-breaking research organisations around the world, including the research and innovation arm of Great Ormond Street Hospital’s multi-year digital transformation programme.

This presents a snapshot of the many successful innovations supported by SHIL. Since being established over 18 years ago, the innovation landscape has changed significantly with rapid advances in technology and subsequent regulation.

Elaine Gemmell, Head of Strategic Development, comments:

“Since 2002, many organisations in the innovation space have ceased to exist. SHIL has endured – we have a clear remit and reaching this milestone underpins the value of NHS-led innovation. Our national focus, combined with an ability to adapt and innovate our own service offerings ensures we continue to provide trusted, vital expertise to NHS Scotland.”

With over 160,000 staff working across NHS Scotland, it is a rich resource of ideas and innovations to improve patient care. Encouraging health professionals to submit ideas, Paul Swinton, Paramedic and inventor of SCRAM™ comments:

“I’ve been working with SHIL for over 6 years now. The first product we worked together on was Adult SCRAM®, and since then I’ve gone on to extend the product range to include a paediatric and pre-hospital retrieval version; a soon to be launched tactical version for the military and an emergency airway drug bag for performing emergency anaesthesia.

“Launching these products, while maintaining my role as an Air Ambulance Paramedic with Scottish Ambulance Services, would have been unimaginable without the support of SHIL. I really encourage anyone with an idea that could help improve patient care to get in touch. From my initial idea, we now have 3 products being used by high performance teams in both hospital and pre-hospital environments, in the UK and internationally, with 3 more products currently in the final stages of development. It really illustrates the value of an initial idea!”

Thank you to all of our stakeholders who have contributed to this important milestone – Scotland’s health boards, universities, investors, manufacturers and most importantly the health and social care professionals submitting these ideas.

We are committed to sustaining these important relationships, working together to improve the quality of healthcare, develop new and improved treatments and devices for our patients and ensure NHS Scotland remains at the forefront of global medical advances.

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