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Dorset becomes Innovation Hub

Dorset Integrated Care System (ICS), the partnership of health and social care organisations in the region, has been selected by the Health Foundation - an independent charity - to be part of its new programme supporting health care providers to enable faster and more effective uptake of innovations and improvements, which will create long lasting impact for patients and patients care.

The Adopting Innovation programme is supporting four innovation hubs with funding of up to £475,000 each for two and a half years. Dorset ICS (Our Dorset) and its partners successfully secured the top award, with the hub being hosted by University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust (UHD).

Innovations which can help meet Dorset’s priority health and wellbeing challenges, improve patient care, and save the NHS time and money, will be adopted, and used throughout the system. The innovations will help health, social care, and other services in the county - such as housing - meet the complex health needs of Dorset’s older population, health inequalities, and variation in life and healthy life expectancy. Other important areas will be help for the workforce, COVID response, winter planning and exploring digital innovations. The hub will also help address inequalities, which have been exacerbated during the pandemic; and will support recovery, while ensuring new innovative models of care, including digital technologies, do not exclude members of the population.

Dr Karen Kirkham, integrated care system clinical lead in Dorset, said: “The Innovation Hub will give us the opportunity to adapt innovations best suited to meeting Dorset’s clinical priorities, and to spread these across Dorset, to provide equity of service, reduce health inequalities and improve care for patients.”

Phil Richardson, chief system integration officer at Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Dorset ICS is delighted that we will have an Innovation Hub to harness our system’s skills and expertise in health and care innovation. The Innovation Hub firmly sets the cornerstone of our ambition to create an organic Living laboratory as a place where ICS partners, industry and business imagine and deliver innovative solutions that improve people’s lives.”

Richard Renaut, chief transformation and strategy officer at University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are thrilled by this boost to our ambitions. This will help us adopt and spread proven innovations across all sectors in Dorset, both faster and further. Together with our partners, this will mean we can provide better care for our population.”

Bill Gillespie, chief executive at Wessex Academic Health Science Network, said: “The Innovation Hub will be an excellent conduit for helping spot and spread the best innovations to improve patient care in Dorset. The AHSN looks forward to working with partners in Dorset to establish the Hub over the next few months.”

Will Warburton, Director of Improvement at the Health Foundation, said: “This is a unique opportunity for the four innovation hubs to create change to improve patient care. It comes at a time where the NHS needs to accelerate effective uptake of new ideas to meet the challenges of delivering care to all who need it during the pandemic.”

More about the Dorset Innovation Hub

The hub will:

  • Coordinate horizon scanning approaches, making collective prioritised decisions about what innovations to bring into Dorset for rapid adaptation and adoption at scale across the system.

  • Comprise of a core project team of innovation multi-disciplinary professionals enabled by a wider well-established network of subject matter experts who support and facilitate development of our collective system approach identifying and adopting proven innovations. They will also connect the wider specialist expertise pledged by partners.

  • Be integrated into the ICS and UHD and able to connect innovation to the detail of our system priorities, programmes, framing and communicating the themes and challenges that we need innovation to support.

  • Focus on supporting proven innovations and understanding their impact in our context before we scale them and ensure we understand and support their sustainability.

  • Have a major focus on supporting our workforce as the adopters of innovation in our context. We will engage and support them to use their networks to identify proven innovations that respond to our needs and provide practical support with implementation.

  • Have patient and public involvement and engagement at its core

  • Develop a culture for innovation that promotes reflective learning and networking.

Full list of partners:

University Hospitals Dorset (lead organisation)

Dorset County Hospital (DCHFT)

Dorset HealthCare (DHUFT)

Bournemouth University

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership

Dorset CCG

Primary Care Networks (PCNs)

Public Health Dorset

Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole Council (BCP Council)

Dorset Council

Wessex Academic Health Science Network (WAHSN)

NIHR Applied Research Collaboration Wessex (ARC Wessex)

Voluntary and charity sector

About the Health Foundation

The Health Foundation is an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

Our aim is a healthier population, supported by high quality health care that can be equitably accessed. We learn what works to make people’s lives healthier and improve the health care system. From giving grants to those working at the front line to carrying out research and policy analysis, we shine a light on how to make successful change happen.

We make links between the knowledge we gain from working with those delivering health and health care and our research and analysis. Our aspiration is to create a virtuous circle, using what we know works on the ground to inform effective policymaking and vice versa.

We believe good health and health care are key to a flourishing society. Through sharing what we learn, collaborating with others and building people’s skills and knowledge, we aim to make a difference and contribute to a healthier population.


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