“What is the role of the NHS? What do we, as members of the public, really want, need and expect from our health service? And what must we, as members of the healthcare industry, do to help meet these expectations?
“In 2014, NHS England set out its Five Year Forward View, calling for a more engaged relationship with patients, carers and citizens, in order to promote wellbeing and prevent ill-health.
“It set out the need for patients to be in far greater control of their own care and stressed the need for new partnerships with local communities, voluntary groups, local authorities and employers.
“In the future, far more care will be delivered locally, through primary care channels and specialist centres capable of supporting people with multiple health conditions.
“In short, healthcare must be delivered differently – preventing illness, promoting wellbeing and managing conditions in the community and in the home. Better, quicker and more personal.
“So what does this mean for the West Midlands? As an international centre for excellence, we have world class research facilities, a uniquely diverse population ideal for clinical research and an entire ecosystem of experts with some very important medical specialisms.
“These include personalised healthcare, which puts patients in control of their treatment,
and precision medicines which can deliver targeted treatments for individual patients.
“In fact, there are three opportunities which have the potential to transform the region
over the next few years.
“The creation of the West Midlands Genomics Medicine Centre will put our region at the forefront of a world-leading national genomics project designed initially to transform the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer and rare diseases. Over time, it is due to move on to other clinical areas.
“Through the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), the West Midlands region
is the only UK healthcare region that is part of a €2billion European initiative called Health EIT which will seek to evaluate and apply innovations that promote healthy living and active ageing over the next six years.
“This is a great opportunity to deliver on the challenges in the NHS Five Year Forward View around prevention and wellbeing.
“The third opportunity for the West Midlands health economy lies within the AHSN’s key commitment to deliver a fully integrated digital health economy which includes electronic prescribing, electronic patient records, and digital health in its widest application.
“If we achieve this ambition, it will represent a major step change for healthcare in the West Midlands providing improvements in health and wealth for its population.
“At our inaugural Health and Wealth Economic Summit in Birmingham last year, George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences, launched our seven point growth plan.
“It set out how we will be making the West Midlands an internationally attractive arena
in which to do business and discover tomorrow’s innovations, as well as making
UK healthcare a sought after product overseas. Now, it’s clear we have the tools to do this.
“People talk about regional powerhouses. Well, the West Midlands is the UK’s healthcare dynamo. We have an enormous opportunity to improve our healthcare services, improve our society and improve our economy. We no longer have to ask how much our healthcare costs – we need to reveal how much it contributes.”
The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is a partnership that brings together NHS commissioners and providers, academia, industry and many others. It is supporting the NHS in recognising and increasing its contribution to the nation’s economy.
You can read about the growth plan at www.wmahsn.org