07th December 2016

South West Wales health programme showcased at European summit

A collaboration between ABMU and Hywel Dda university health boards with Swansea University is gaining international attention.

ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) has been invited to showcase its vision at an important health summit in Brussels this week.

The 2016 European Summit on Digital Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing is a 3-day event which will see an international audience made up of guests from the Government of Japan, Canada and the US along with representatives from the World Health Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD). It takes place across many venues in Brussels.

The ARCH partners will take part in a Welsh Government-led workshop discussing Innovation Driving Health and Economic Outcomes on Thursday, December 8, with ABMU Medical Director and ARCH board member Professor Hamish Laing representing the ARCH collaboration and focusing on digital innovation and transformation in health.

ARCH brings together health and science to transform the way healthcare is delivered in South West Wales. By bringing together health, skills and education and research and innovation translated into economic impact ARCH is a truly innovative offering which will benefit 1 million people across the region.

Professor Laing said: “We are delighted to be able to showcase the vision and progress of the ARCH collaboration in Europe. The partnership aims to revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered in this region, create an effective and sustainable workforce and drive investment to boost the local economy. ARCH is also ensuring that prevention and improving people’s wellness is at the front and centre of all of its aims. ARCH is a portfolio made up of large and complex programmes – which can only be delivered through close partnership working. All three ARCH partners, supported by Welsh Government, are working together to help create a vibrant regional economy which is driven by talent. As well as providing excellent healthcare, we also want to establish our region as a pioneer and leader in health and life science research, enterprise and innovation and support people to stay healthier for longer.”

Professor Laing added that this integrated way of working will allow both the region’s health boards to revolutionise the way they deliver healthcare across South West Wales.

He said: “Through collaboration, we will deliver a complete change to the health and wellbeing of our region and to health services we provide to our population. ARCH will also help the region have a global reputation for best practice, healthcare services and population wellbeing as well as help unleash the bright ideas and innovation in the NHS to benefit our patients and our regional economy.”

The workshop’s opening address, which will be given by Ifan Evans, the Welsh Government lead for Healthcare Technology Innovation and Strategy, will launch the Swansea University-led £13.5million EU-supported AgorIP scheme.

Through the ARCH partnership, AgorIP brings together academics, clinicians, and businesses to pioneer research into cutting-edge technologies. AgorIP will work with the NHS and industry to open up a pipeline of untapped research and help turn innovative ideas into products and services for the commercial market. The project is backed by £6.7m from the Welsh Government, including support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), matched by resources and funding from Swansea University.

Professor Marc Clement, ARCH board member and Dean of the School of Management, Swansea University, said: “Swansea University is delighted to be leading this important project, which links academics and business experts to come up with innovative ideas and ways of doing things. I’m confident that the results will be of major benefit to the Welsh economy.”

Welsh Government Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “This is an important project that will deliver an all-Wales approach to turning the ideas and invention of NHS staff into new products and services.  With the backing of EU funds, these projects will help us to develop opportunities that will deliver on Welsh Government health improvement priorities, and our ambitions for economic development.”