In this blog, Amy Lochtie, Registered Nurse and Innovation Hub Director for West Yorkshire, explores how Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber and its West Yorkshire Innovation Hub are helping to drive forward West Yorkshire’s ambition of becoming a globally competitive centre for innovation, and securing its economic future for the residents of the region.
West Yorkshire’s HealthTech sector has been steadily growing and is currently thriving at an impressive £5.2billion in revenue which equates to nearly 18 per cent of the national HealthTech revenue of the UK (OLS ).
The region has been working hard to be one of the leading HealthTech locations, and currently is responsible for 22 per cent of all UK Digital health jobs, with over 17,000 people employed in this sector across West Yorkshire.
The HealthTech sector, characterised by innovation and advanced technology is a significant driver of economic growth in the region, and the emergence of HealthTech is not only transforming healthcare, but also presenting vast opportunities for economic development.
The power of collaboration
Collaboration lies at the heart of the West Yorkshire HealthTech sector success story. When industry, the NHS, Health Innovation Networks, Mayoral Combined Authorities and other sector leaders work together and combine assets, they create a holistic approach to inclusive economic growth.
My role as West Yorkshire Innovation Hub Director is to ensure we are supporting the ICB in reaching its 10 Big Ambitions, one of which is helping to strengthen the local economy. The recent announcement from Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, on the successful bid for a new £7.5m Launchpad fund being delivered across West Yorkshire is an example of working together to secure a key strategic bid that is vital to securing economic investment into the region.
This grant is a significant milestone, and it will empower local health technology companies to bid for funding of up to £1million each to develop life-changing medical innovations for the NHS and the global healthcare market. These innovations are expected to make a positive impact on patient care, reinforcing the commitment to improving healthcare services.
Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber is supporting the Mayoral Combined Authority in working with applicants in how to successfully deliver these innovations into the NHS, whilst the West Yorkshire Innovation Hub will provide strategic links into the NHS to support the development and adoption of innovations whilst linking innovators with clinicians and experts.
A shining example includes the development of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority HealthTech Strategy, in which the Health Innovation Network and the West Yorkshire Innovation Hub were identified as key strategic leaders. The delivery of the strategy involved multiple public and private sector organisations to ensure collaboration was at the heart of how the region can deliver on bold HealthTech ambitions.
Understanding the impact
The impact of this type of investment into the West Yorkshire region is wider reaching above the initial economic investment. These types of significant grants help to contribute to the wider inclusive economic growth within the region, and have benefits on areas such as:
- Job creation: With growing HealthTech companies, there will be demand for a skilled workforce, leading to job opportunities for local residents or bringing skilled members into the region.
- Economic diversification: HealthTech diversifies the local economy, reducing dependence on traditional industries. This diversification makes the region more resilient and adaptive to economic challenges.
- Improved healthcare: Collaboration between HealthTech and the NHS translates into better health and care services, healthier populations and ultimately, a more productive workforce. The unique role of the West Yorkshire Innovation Hub sitting across both the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership and Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber ensures that the health needs of the region are linked closely to innovation development.
- Attracting Talent: The increased investment in HealthTech and innovation makes West Yorkshire an attractive destination for healthcare and tech talent. This influx of talent further stimulates economic growth.
Not only does the announcement of the £7.5m Launchpad fund work towards driving inclusive economic growth, but it also puts a spotlight on other areas where collaboration between the NHS, Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber, Mayoral Combined Authorities and industry helps to provide even more opportunity for the residents of West Yorkshire. For example, we are also supporting the successful UK Shared Prosperity Fund in partnership with Huddersfield University and Mid Yorkshire Teaching Hospital and West Yorkshire Combined Authority, as well as the £80 Million West Yorkshire Investment Zone fund and tax relief project.
The role we play across both the public and private sector provides unique insight in identifying local and regional health needs that require innovative solutions to be developed, producing a unique West Yorkshire offer to industry.
The West Yorkshire Innovation Hub is a collaboration between the West Yorkshire Health and Care partnership and Health Innovation Yorkshire and Humber. Find out more about the work of the Hub in our latest Impact Report.