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MPs Lend Support to Chief Innovation Officer Call

Topic : News and Press Type : Press Release

A cohort of 16 MPs have given their backing to a national campaign to appoint Chief Innovation Officers across all NHS organisations.

Led by the UK’s leading HealthTech trade association, the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI),  the campaign was launched at ABHI’s annual parliamentary reception this week, which also welcomed over 200 delegates from the UK’s health sector. The event provides a chance for ABHI’s members, Parliamentarians and stakeholders to celebrate the critical role HealthTech plays in improving lives and supporting the NHS, whilst also highlighting the challenges impacting growth.

Regular polling of ABHI’s members has found that continued low innovation adoption remains one of the sector’s biggest concerns. The Chief Innovation Officer ask comes as, with few exceptions, nobody at Board level within NHS organisations holds a portfolio that captures innovation. This is compared to issues such as performance, quality and safety, and workforce, which is well considered.

Peter Ellingworth, Chief Executive, ABHI said: “The underlying problem is that innovation is currently nobody’s job and until it is actively built into senior job descriptions, it will remain an afterthought. The HealthTech industry brings tremendous value, both to patients in improved outcomes, and to the NHS, through efficiency gains. Innovation is fundamental to this and must be encouraged at Board level.”

The Government’s recent manifesto has pledged to make the UK a leading global hub for life sciences and ABHI believes that Chief Innovation Officers can be an important driver of delivering this commitment, as well as supporting uptake of innovative new HealthTech and broader service innovation. As part of the campaign, the Association is now calling on its member’s MPs to write to the Health Secretary to bring this issue to national attention.

Speaking at the event, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock commented: “Adoption is one of the biggest challenges in the NHS and we need to spread innovation quicker. This can no longer be someone else's job."