From education to employment

NHS Launches Institute for Innovation and Improvement

This month, the NHS announced that it will be aiming to break new ground in the provision of healthcare, medical training and technology. The transformation of the NHS Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation into the new Institute for Innovation and Improvement will mark the beginning of a radical reform of the UK health sector.

The new authority came into being from the 1st July 2005 and will be seeking to introduce new ideas and practices to modernise the NHS, with much of the emphasis being given to training and technology. The Institute, regarded as a Special Health Authority, will be based at the University of Warwick and will have access to funding of £80 million, to develop and create better training, service and performance.

It is envisaged that the Institute for Innovation and Improvement will work closely with staff, patients, industry and educational institutions to create innovative approaches to issues prioritised in agreement with the Department of Health.

The Institute will be made up of a number of teams, each working on specific projects such as personalised care for the long-term sick, meeting of the 18 week treatment target and improvement to NHS training programmes.

There will also be a keen focus on technological innovations; the National Innovation Centre (part of the NHS Institute) will act as a communication hub for ideas and knowledge across the country. The National Innovation Centre will also be a point of contact between the NHS and industry, to facilitate strategic partnerships. The NHS Institute will look at ways that delivery and service can be transformed using innovative strategies that can be adopted across the health service.

Minister of State for Quality and Patient Safety, Jane Kennedy, explained, “We are determined to develop best practice in the NHS and adopt rapidly new ideas and ways of working”¦.no-one should be left behind as the NHS embraces more innovations for patients.” Education and training will form a key part of the Institute’s remit, encouraging the development of skills and practices amongst NHS staff. Industry will play an important role in identifying the best training for NHS workers and development of leadership schemes.

The creation of the new Institute sees the end to the NHS Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation, NHS Modernisation Agency, NHSU and the NHS Leadership Centre. The move brings some clarity to a transitional period. Janet Finch, the chairwoman of the Universities UK health committee, told The Guardian: “We are glad to see that the health service remains committed to developing its staff, via the new Institute, and we look forward to working with health service colleagues as they develop detailed plans.”

Dan Atkinson

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