health and wealth

(from left) Marion Laverty (the ABPI), Heather Moorhead (NICON), Michael Bloomfield (NIAS), Joann Rhodes (HIRANI), Matthew Taylor (NHS Confederation)

An independent report published today (19/10/22) has highlighted the need for a shared, vision, mission, and purpose by NI policy makers to supercharge the health innovation ecosystem.

“Health and Wealth in Northern Ireland; Capitalising on the opportunities,” was commissioned by the Health Innovation Research Alliance NI (HIRANI) and the Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care (NICON) with the support of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Building on increasingly robust evidence that health innovation has significant potential to reduce inequalities, deliver better health outcomes and drive economic growth, the report sets out the potential for a revitalised approach to invest in a cross departmental health and economy partnership.

The report, authored by highly respected health thought leader, Mike Farrar CBE, shows that, while not a short-term challenge, there is major potential to build on existing areas of excellence to fully realise the benefits for the NI population.

“This report sets out how, with the right collective leadership, strategy, investment, and clear metrics, we in Northern Ireland can align to coordinate health innovation and transform outcomes. In short, we have the potential to move from “good in parts” to “a highly innovative system” to ensure we can deliver for our citizens and play a leading role, alongside other world-class systems,” said Mike who is also the former CEO of the NHS Confederation, Northwest Strategic Health Authority and Head of Primary Care at the Department of Health.

“There are a number of issues that require action if the current NI ecosystem is to become world class including the need for a clear narrative and mindset in senior leadership (political and executive) that sees general spending on health, and specific spending on health and care R&D, innovation adoption and spread as an investment rather than solely a cost.”

“There is an opportunity for government in NI to strengthen the ecosystem by developing more coherent cross departmental policy and oversight that spans health, wealth, and education - setting a collective strategy with a small number of high-level shared goals and priorities.”

Mike also highlighted: “The ecosystem requires better practical coordination – NI has some excellent jigsaw pieces but not a coherent jigsaw picture.”

The report was launched at the 2022 NICON conference taking place over two days in Belfast with over 650 delegates.

The NHS Confederation also launched their UK wide report: “From safety net to springboard,” looking at how investment in health innovation leads not only to better outcomes for patients but also more wealth for citizens. The report highlights that every £1 invested in health innovation, shows a return of £4 for the economy.

Notes to editors:

You can find the full reports here:

https://www.nhsconfed.org/publications/health-and-wealth-northern-ireland-capitalising-opportunities

https://www.nhsconfed.org/publications/safety-net-springboard

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