In response to the recent announcement by the Department of Health to create 'Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs)', the North East and North Cumbria have submitted an application to become an AHSN.
How were HIECs selected?
A national HIEC Project Board was set up in February 2009 and bids were submitted by the end of October 2009. 17 HIECs across the country were successful and announced in December 2009.
What is the evidence base for the development of HIECs?
Lord Darzi's review (Department of Health, High Quality Care For All, 2008) notes that the UK lags behind its international counterparts for the systematic uptake of inventions and that international evidence highlights the patient benefits of people working together from different sectors.
The Cooksey Review (2006) also concluded that there are gaps in the translation of health research, mainly relating to gaps between the outcomes of research into new healthcare products; and the uptake of these new products and approaches into clinical practice in the NHS, thus impacting on potential health and economic benefits.
How was HIEC North East (NE) developed?
One North East was commissioned to coordinate a bid to represent the region. This was prepared by a Sponsor Group with cross sector representation from the NHS, Higher Education Institutions, industry, local authority and the third sector.
How is HIEC NE funded?
HIEC NE is publicly funded by the Department of Health (DH) via NHS North East, our Strategic Health Authority (SHA).
Who is HIEC NE accountable to?
HIEC NE is accountable to the Executive Board and to RTC North Limited, as its legal representative body, as well as NHS North East. It is envisioned that HIEC North East will become a legal, independent entity in its own right pending successful application for ‘Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG)’ status.
How has HIEC NE been affected by the recent changes in Government?
The new government continues to stress the importance of quality and outcomes in the NHS, in line with Darzi’s vision. Following Lord Darzi’s Review, SHA’s were assigned a legal duty and given funds to promote regional innovation. However, one of the most significant changes stated in the White Paper, Equity & Excellence: Liberating the NHS (July 2010) is the plans to abolish Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) in 2012/13. Commissioning and provision of healthcare is currently in a state of fluidity which HIEC NE will need to adapt and mould itself to over the coming months as new policy and strategy emerges.
What are the North East’s strategic priorities?
‘Our Vision, Our Future’ is the North East’s strategic 10 year plan (2008-2018) to improve health and social care in the region, focussing on quality, efficiency and innovation across eight themes spanning the lifespan (maternity and newborn care, children’s services, planned care, acute care, mental health, long term conditions, staying healthy, and end of life care).
Strategic policy for transforming health and healthcare services in the North East stresses the importance of multi-agency partnerships to drive change. ‘Better Health, Fairer Health’, is a 25 year plan (2008 - 2033) focused on improving the health and wellbeing of people in the North East within some of the most significant public health issues (economy, culture and environment; mental health, happiness and wellbeing; tobacco; obesity, diet and physical activity; alcohol prevention; fair and early treatment; early life; mature and working life; later life; and a good death).
Patient safety is a further regional priority documented in ‘Safer Care North East’, a 3 year plan (2008 - 2011) to improve the safety of services across eight clinical themes (managing the deteriorating patient; drug safety; reducing suicide; safe surgical procedures; healthcare associated infections; care transfers, handovers and discharges; reducing falls; and, reviewing mortality rates for conditions and procedures).
Ultimately, these strategic themes will be at the heart of any quality improvement activity within the region and underlie the core work of HIEC NE.