Healthcare in Greater Manchester is under the spotlight as Manchester City Council announced the arrival of Health Innovation Manchester (HIM) today.
The scheme ‘hopes to speed up the discovery, development and delivery of innovative solutions to help improve the health of the almost three million people in Greater Manchester, and beyond’.
It plans to do so by creating partnerships between Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network, the Clinical Research Network, Manchester Science Partnerships, and Manchester Growth Company.
HIM Director Clive Morris said: “Greater Manchester already benefits from a strong history of research and innovation in health.
“It is an important life sciences cluster and an eco-system with significant growth potential.
“However, we know that it can take many years for a new innovation to reach routine adoption across the NHS, and that we don’t leverage our skills and capabilities across the whole of the region and across different diseases.
“Our ambition is to solve this by harnessing and building on the collective expertise we have, and working together to develop the very best approaches to address the health needs of Greater Manchester.”
“By working collectively across healthcare providers, academia and industry – more closely than ever before – we can see the potential to accelerate the discovery and development of new innovations and transform the health of our population.”
HIM has been introduced as part of the region’s devolution of health and social care – announced by George Osbourne earlier this year when setting out the government’s strategy for a Northern Powerhouse.
The region’s 10 councils, 12 Clinical Commissioning Groups, and the elected mayor are set to gain full control over the NHS budget which will increase the amount of spending power to £6billion by April 2016.
This level of devolution in the NHS is unprecedented and those who advocate it insist it will be able to join up health and social care in a way that’s never been possible before.
Councillor Cliff Morris, lead on health for Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), said: “This approach complements and supports our devolution objectives and ambitions around integrated health and social care – allowing people to have more control of their own health – while taking pressure off hospitals and boosting work in the community.”
Manchester has several health priorities including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, drug and alcohol misuse and the high prevalence of obesity among adults and children.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed which sets out the key aims and ambitions of the system.
Early priorities include greater access to patient information between GPs and hospitals to build on ‘ground-breaking work on integrated health data systems’.
The proposals hope to make Manchester an attractive breeding ground for cutting edge life science companies, creating more jobs and competing with a wider market nationally.
NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said: “Manchester has a proud history of world-leading breakthroughs in medicine and science and this approach will accelerate future gains for patients, hospitals, universities and employers across the region.”
It is hoped that new innovation in data sharing, learning and costs to improve diagnosis will be implemented throughout the NHS in the region.
HIM wants to impact not just patient care but also the ‘region’s industry from research and development through to manufacturing.
HIM hopes to ‘improve the ability to use personalised medicine’ which ‘could involve developing new medicines to treat specific groups of patients or targeting existing treatments more effectively’.
Another aim is to ‘enhance the testing of new medicines or treatments’ and ‘enable those with the biggest positive impact to be identified and introduced into routine clinical practice as quickly as possible’.
Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “This partnership will allow new medical discoveries by University of Manchester researchers to have patient benefit much faster, something which is of critical importance to the major health challenges we face as a city.
“We already work closely with our NHS and industry partners, but HIM means that ideas can move much more quickly from the lab to having an impact on people in Greater Manchester, and ultimately around the world.”
Sir Richard Leese, lead on growth for GMCA, said this progress for the region’s health and social care is the next step in a long history of being at the forefront of medical advances.
He said: “All these developments are based on firm foundations.
“Greater Manchester is already recognised as being in the top three UK life science clusters with almost 11,500 people working in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical technology businesses.
“World-class strengths include a strong research-led university base, six major teaching hospitals, a successful record of clinical trials, rich history of innovation and a wide industrial base.
“It also has the only accredited Academic Health Science Centre in the UK outside the South East, which is a powerful platform to widen Greater Manchester’s business base and growth.”