Agenda item

Reducing Health Inequalities through Innovation and System Change

To consider the report of the Head of Health Innovation, Leeds Health Partnerships. Innovation and system change provide a key means through which the reduction of health inequalities will be delivered. This paper therefore sets the scene for a short series of presentations to the Health and Wellbeing Board on the key issues and opportunities to be addressed in an effective programme of delivery. It includes an overview of the scale of the health inequality in Leeds and the role of economic growth, the Leeds Digital Strategy and investment through partnership.



The Board considered the report of the Head of Health Innovation, Leeds Health Partnerships on how innovation and system change provide the means by which the reduction of health inequalities will be delivered. The report set the scene for a series of presentations on the key issues and opportunities to be addressed in an effective programme of delivery. Additionally the report included an overview of the scale of health inequality in Leeds and the role of economic growth, the Leeds Digital Strategy and investment through partnership.


The Leeds Growth Strategy - Colin Mawhinney provided an overview of the Strategy 2011/16 which was currently under review. The Strategy had taken account of the diversity of the city, quality of life as well as measurable outputs and had recognised the role of partnership working. The review would focus on implementation; and consider the impact of Brexit, employment and the predicted economic growth for Leeds, particularly in the digital and education sectors. Key to being able to address health inequality was a strong; growing economy. Future productivity was influenced by health, skills and support. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) were a large part of the healthcare sector in Leeds providing a number of jobs and requiring support as they expanded.


The Board received a short video presentation. Representatives from 4 SMEs highlighted the advantages of being based in Leeds – the collaborative approach between the business and education sectors; the local talent pool; skills, support and transport infrastructure which encouraged easy access to the city and allowed SMEs a greater regional reach to provide services and encourage staff.


Challenges ahead included ensuring the continued development of a local talent pool with relevant skills; and encouraging local commissioners/business to buy local products and services.


The Board welcomed the context and framework for inward investment provided by the presentation and noted comments on issues including:

·  Securing new jobs for Leeds residents

·  The existing skilled workforce in the digital and education economy. Further consideration to be given to create opportunities for different skills/workforce to support other parts of the general economy which in turn will raise the standard of the health and wellbeing of Leeds citizens

·  The challenge of encouraging uptake of health and care jobs when pay, conditions and hours may not be seen as favourable as other sectors

·  Recognition of the link between economic deprivation and health inequality and the need to target economic growth, education and new skills to areas of deprivation.


The Leeds Digital Strategy – Dylan Roberts emphasised the role of Digital Economy in supporting health and wellbeing of the population and identified the link between Leeds’ Digital Roadmap and the Leeds Health & Care Plan – a place based approach will support the appropriate platform on which to create and share design principles. Arrangements were being put in place to deliver a city digital team supported by NHS Digital. The Board was urged to consider the positive impact of digital/technology on self-care and prevention and the opportunity for SMEs to establish new products – such as a smartphone app. It was noted that European funding had been secured to support Leeds companies to fund innovative products


(Moira Dumma, Gordon Sinclair and Councillor D Coupar withdrew from the meeting for a short while)


The Board heard from Victoria Betton of mHabitat, a company supporting digital innovation in the NHS and wider public sector. The company had received funding to consider the challenge around digital practitioning and she highlighted the need to update the technology in use in the health care sector to better support practitioners in the field – such as appropriate smart phones for home visits.


Discussion recognised that the use of digital technology can be transformative and is crucial in many health and care service workplaces; although it was acknowledged that the initial roll-out of technology to staff was not without challenges. It was suggested that sharing digital design principles should ensure SME’s capabilities and ensure the future of information sharing.


Leadership in Innovation and System Change – Mike Messenger, Leeds Centre for Personalised Medicine & Health, joined the meeting via Skype from San Francisco. The 2016 Precision Medicine Catapult had encouraged Leeds developers/practitioners to consider personalised medicine and health in all three health settings – hospital, general practice and community health. Leeds developed a whole system approach which was now being mooted as a best practice example. The challenge now was to develop and use new products and ways of working much sooner. Precision medicine aimed to improve and enrich decisions taken by individuals about their own health, wellbeing and care through the use of technology. The technology could also be used to identify when/or if a patient may become ill, or assist with identifying appropriate medicine


(Moira Dumma left the meeting at this point)


Leeds was seen as being a good place to trial precision medicine due the diverse population and medical needs, the large healthcare system and because of the relevant expertise and skills already in the city within the universities and hospitals.


Mr Messenger explained that the founding principle of the co-operative was to utilise the data already available in care packages and care paths, and to identify where added value was gained, or lost, on the patients’ care path. He identified current challenges as being:

-  gaining access to real time data from care services which prevents the co-operative undertaking service modelling

-  gaining access to patients and consent to use their data.

Board members noted the comments made during the video presentation seeking to encourage commissioners to review their procurement mechanisms and expressing concern that Leeds CCGs did not procure Leeds made products. The Board also noted the response that discussions were being held with CCGs on this matter.


The Board felt it was important to identify which organisations will lead and progress the roll-out of the various initiatives and to ensure that localities with historical health challenges are included.


In conclusion the Board commented that technology was not just about productivity, but was a facilitator to interact with patients and hold citizens’ information. Increasingly, technology in the health and care sector should empower individuals to help them get what they want out of health and care services.


Having considered the report and presentations, the Board


a)  Noted the further opportunities for the Board to progress and provide strategic direction identified during discussions

b)  Noted the discussions on how members of the Board can further support the work

c)  To receive future progress reports as and when appropriate


Supporting documents: