The uptake, nurturing and spreading of innovation in the NHS must become an integral part of all healthcare professionals in England.
This is according to the NHS England’s (formerly the NHS Commissioning Board) new business plan: ‘Putting Patients First: The NHS England Business Plan for 2013/14 – 2015/16’.
It says the NHS’s new ‘Innovation programme’ will “ensure that the new commissioning system promotes and supports participation of the NHS in research, translating scientific developments into benefits for patients”.
This includes having the NHS act as a “facilitator of research” – for example, it is planning to investigate a system of presumed consent to take part in research studies for all patients treated in teaching hospitals.
It is also looking to establish a new Industry Council to identify and work through issues of mutual interest to NHS England and the UK life sciences industry, where this will generate benefits for both patients and taxpayers, and support economic growth in the UK.
NHS England will in addition have a key role in supporting the Small Business Research Initiative and strengthening partnerships between the NHS and international healthcare systems through Healthcare UK, a joint venture between NHS England, the Department of Health and UK Trade and Investment.
Healthcare UK aims to boost the value of the UK’s trade in healthcare products and services, generating revenue for the NHS that can be redirected back into improving patient care.
Genomics and better engagement with public
NHS England will also lead the NHS contribution to the UK Genomics Strategy, developing detailed research proposals for 100,000 genome sequences in the UK over the next three years, initially focusing on cancer and rare diseases and infectious disease.
The NHS England Genomics Strategy Board has established three work streams for 2013/14. This includes ‘benefits realisation’, which will identify how to exploit existing scientific and research data for clinical use in the NHS to deliver better patient outcomes.
The second is procurement and intellectual property that will help to develop the processes for managing the establishment of contracts for genome sequencing
And the third is clinical, public and media engagement to develop a shared plan for public engagement about the value, rationale and benefits of the genomics strategy.
The plan’s main function describes an 11-point ‘scorecard’, which NHS England will introduce for measuring performance of key priorities, focused on receiving direct feedback from patients, their families and NHS staff.
This aims to support the cultural change needed to put people at the centre of the NHS - a key theme in the report by Robert Francis QC after the failing at the Mid-Staffs hospital, which saw as many as 1,200 patients die from neglect and poor care.
The NHS England says its business plan will help stop this happening again by making sure that patients’ voices are heard and used to deliver better services.
This new plan builds on ‘Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013/14’, its earlier planning guidance for commissioners which was published in December 2012, before the release of the Francis report in February 2013.