The behaviours of NHS Scotland’s 160,000-strong workforce will influence how the service mitigates and adapts to ophthalmic backlogs and heightened pressures; and so, encouraging this diverse workforce to come up with new ways of working is vital.
The package of support for health and social care staff with ideas to support NHS Scotland includes £25,000 of initial funding, regulatory support, project management and the innovation expertise of InnoScot Health.
Watch our ophthalmology call briefing event
Our online briefing event gave attendees more information on our latest themed call.
Coinciding with World Sight Day, it offered a deep dive on the aims, and reasons behind, the ophthalmology call, and laid out the support available to health and social care staff submitting their ideas.
The attendees heard from members of the InnoScot Health team, as well as experts in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many projects will be supported?
No set limit, the intention is to rapidly assess all submissions and fast track those with potential. Ophthalmology is a key priority area for NHS Scotland and we want to harness the talent and experience of all those working in the NHS to help improve operational efficiency while also maintaining, or ideally, improving the quality of care received by patients.
What ideas are you looking for?
All ideas are welcomed – from simple to complex, and from any health board and any role or medical discipline.
Innovation in ophthalmology is very often, though not always, a new medical device, but it could also be an accessory or a training tool such as an educational board game.
We also evaluate digital solutions such as forward-thinking apps, and where innovators come to us with ideas relating to new processes or services, we endeavour to identify the most appropriate partner agency to support it and take it further forward.
We are particularly looking for innovations that have commercial potential – ones that can be developed as a new product and generate income.
Inventions that are co-developed with non-NHS parties can also be supported by us as long as there is a defined NHS input/staff member involved in the project.
Why has ophthalmology been chosen?
Encouraging NHS Scotland’s diverse workforce to come up with new ideas that achieve better outcomes in pressured ophthalmology is vital and is at the heart of InnoScot Health’s latest innovation call.
During the pandemic, this was one of the health care areas which suffered most as patients were unable to see ophthalmologists and optometrists for face-to-face appointments so waiting lists and backlogs grew.
This in turn meant that individuals with eye problems saw a worsening of their condition over the course of the pandemic and it is only now that we are beginning to see a return to normal practice.
However, there remains a significant accumulation of people still requiring treatment and so encouraging the diverse NHS Scotland workforce to come up with new ways of working and identifying ways to reduce that backlog is vital.
Innovation has the power to unlock fresh, inspired solutions that can tackle issues head on and lay the foundations for further positive change in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
We need to advance innovative eye care solutions for important unmet needs and improve the lives of people living with vision loss and eye disease.
What funding is available?
InnoScot Health is offering initial and rapid ‘kick start’ funding allowing promising innovations to be fast-tracked with additional funding leveraged as needed to support development, testing or manufacture. InnoScot Health has years of experience in leveraging additional funds from organisations such as Scottish Enterprise, Innovate UK, EU and private investment community.
InnoScot Health can offer funding and support for NHS projects and our focus is making new devices available via commercialisation. This ensures that not only the best new healthcare products reach the market and improve patient outcomes but also create some profit for the inventor and their health board employer.
Can the general population put an idea forward?
In simple terms, yes. InnoScot Health has worked in partnership with NHS Scotland since 2002, protecting and supporting NHS initiated ideas, but we also assess and support ideas from students, members of the public, start-ups, SMEs and established companies that would benefit from collaboration with the NHS.
Do NHS staff have time?
New ideas are central to the improvement of sustainable patient care. It’s true health and social care professionals are extremely busy but they also have incredible knowledge, expertise and first hand experience of the NHS, how it works, and how to make things better. It is InnoScot Health's mission to provide the right encouragement and support, to attract and develop these ideas.
A simple online submission form captures the idea, and the InnoScot Health team will then work closely with health professionals to develop the innovation. The team has always worked in this way, managing projects that would otherwise be difficult for health and social care staff to balance with personal or clinical commitments.
How long until proposed solutions will be available/used?
This will vary by project and depends on many factors, including complexity, stage of development, and funding requirements.
What are the stages?
InnoScot Health has an established pathway for projects, but also has the capacity to act quickly on new ideas with immediate relevance. The initial steps couldn’t be easier – make a submission using our online form.
This short form needs you to submit your basic information, the concept, and then your idea will be evaluated by our team, who have years of experience in healthcare development and regulation.
Who will assess these ideas?
The innovation team at InnoScot Health will assess and support selected ideas from concept to the final product. The team has over 20 years of experience evaluating ideas from health professionals.
What is the assessment criteria?
An established criteria exists including the viability of the idea, regulatory considerations, commercial feasibility, clinical evaluation and technical considerations. These will be flexible and proportionate to the urgency and need for the idea.
Other themed calls
Our themed calls are a direct response to areas of health and social care that are ripe for innovation. Targeted at specific areas of need, these calls focus attention and inspire new thinking, new ideas and new approaches.