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The University of Southampton

New health partnership created to promote innovation in the NHS

Published: 12 March 2010

A new body that will promote quality, innovation and efficiency in the NHS has been announced.

The Wessex Health Innovation and Education Cluster (Wessex HIEC) will seek to transform services, working practices and healthcare in the south of England and speed up the adoption of research.

Wessex HIEC is a partnership of 38 organisations and will serve a population of more than four million people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, East Dorset and South Wiltshire. Hosted by the University of Southampton, the partnership includes the local universities, Primary Care Trusts and NHS Trusts, local authorities and a broad range of voluntary and commercial organisations.

Its goal will be to improve three key areas of healthcare: ‘telecare’ – the use of technology to support new ways of delivering care outside of hospital; ‘service transformation’ – enabling health and social care staff to collaborate more effectively to treat people in the community; preventative and public health improvements, which will build on existing initiatives in Portsmouth and Southampton.

Professor David Williams, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences at the University of Southampton, comments: “We have created a new type of partnership, with the potential to improve significantly the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of health and social care in our region.

“The HIEC will encourage innovation in education and research, the testing of promising ideas, and their application to practical problems throughout the region.”

The Department of Health has awarded a total of £11m to 17 HIECs in England. The successful HIECs were chosen by an Independent Award Panel chaired by Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Sir Alan Langlands says: “HIECs will drive up quality standards in education and training and ensure fast adoption of innovation for the benefit of local people. The flexibility of the HIEC model means that the vision of each one is appropriate and specific to its local area.”

The HIEC concept was originally developed by a group of leaders from the NHS and university sector during the NHS Next Stage Review as one of the ways to deliver high quality healthcare.

Notes for editors

  • The creation of the Wessex HIEC follows a successful bid to the Department of Health in the autumn of 2009. Wessex HIEC is hosted by the University of Southampton and the following 38 organisations are members:

    Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; BMJ Publishing Group Ltd; Bournemouth University; Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust; Eastleigh Borough Council; GE Healthcare; Hampshire Community Healthcare, provider arm of Hampshire Primary Care Trust; NHS Hampshire, commissioner arm of Hampshire Primary Care Trust; Hampshire County Council; Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; HAP UK; Healthcare Learning Company; IBM; Isle of Wight County Council; Isle of Wight NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT); NHS Innovation South East; NHS Workforce Review Team; Poole NHS Foundation Trust; Portsmouth City Council; Portsmouth City Teaching PCT; Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust; Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Trust; Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust; SCA Community Care Services; Skills for Health; Solent Synergy; Southampton City Council; Southampton City PCT and their provider arm: Southampton Community Healthcare; Southampton Solent University; Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust; University of Portsmouth; University of Southampton; University of Winchester; Wessex Deanery; Wessex Local Medical Committee; Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust.
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