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Cash boost for NHS innovation

Pioneering healthcare supported by £1m Scottish Government funding

Patients across Scotland are to have greater access to original and pioneering treatments and services, supported by £1 million of Scottish Government funding.

The Health Secretary announced recently that additional funding would be used to support the work of the ‘Innovation Fund’ which aims to support the development of new ideas in NHS Scotland.

Established in June this year, the fund is run by Golden Jubilee National Hospital on behalf of NHS Scotland, who have a proven track record in developing innovative treatments and NHS services.

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital will raise funds from a variety of sources, including donations and European grants.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: “Innovation is key to ensuring our NHS remains at the forefront of providing pioneering healthcare that will improve the lives of patients across Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is very supportive of this strand of work and our funding demonstrates the backing we’re giving to innovation. This £1 million investment will also give NHS Scotland the time and resources to develop these new and better treatments for patients.

“We stand on the brink of a revolution in healthcare - with new types of medicines, new health and communications technologies, and new thinking about how to make care suit the needs of every patient.

“Scotland has already made significant progress on developing and expanding new technologies fit for our twenty-first century healthcare service, but to build on this achievement the NHS must put innovation at the heart of everything it does.”

Jill Young, Chief Executive, Golden Jubilee National Hospital, commented: “As the country’s flagship hospital, this announcement supports our Board vision to lead quality, research and innovation for NHS Scotland.

“Scotland is already a world-leader in developing new treatments within a variety of different specialisms. At the Golden Jubilee, we have an excellent track record in innovation, paving the way with pioneering concepts in treatment and research for the people of Scotland. We are very excited about the possibilities and potential that the future holds as we move onto our next chapter as a national resource for the NHS in Scotland.”

The fund will build upon pioneering work in Scotland’s NHS. At the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, an example of innovative work is the development of ground-breaking surgery for heart disease and complex orthopaedic hip and knee replacements.

They have also developed a programme which allows medical students, trainee doctors and clinicians to practice surgical techniques on 3D models and animations, which could be used in the future to help patients visualise what their treatment will involve.

In addition to this, earlier this week Health Secretary Alex Neil visited the Digital Health Institute’s ‘Innovation Centre’, where he was shown examples of new healthcare products and services under development.

One example of work being developed by the Digital Health Institute is a recently completed research project to explore the changing demands on the Scottish Ambulance Service and the impact this will have on the technology they need in the future.

Using feedback gained from ambulance clinicians, Glasgow School of Art designers and creative technology professionals through a number of ‘experience labs’, the project suggests that a 24-hour decision making support service should be available through a tablet device to help ambulance staff make better decisions about patient care while on scene.

The tablet would allow paramedics to receive accurate and timely information on a patient; store and send all clinical observations to the appropriate point of referral, as well as accessing information on alternative care services available for a patient.

The DHI has produced a report outlining the project’s findings and recommendations and further work will be progressed to consider the market viability of the solution.

Chief Executive Officer, Justene Ewing of Digital Health Institute, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s pledge of additional funding to support innovative solutions for NHS Scotland.

“We currently have over 50 projects in our pipeline to explore the positive difference that technology can have on the delivery of care and the patient experience. We have recently launched our first product to market and we hope to support the creation of many more ground-breaking technological solutions. Ongoing investment in this area will help to ensure the continued creation of innovative and technological solutions that will build Scotland’s reputation as a leader of digital healthcare.”

Pamela McLauchlan, Director of Finance and Logistics, Scottish Ambulance Service, said: "Technology has an important role to play in the delivery of modern patient-centred ambulance care. Our partnership with the Digital Health Institute will help to inform the next phase of development and innovation in ambulance telehealth, as we continue to deliver our strategy to take more care safely to patients in their home."

Notes To Editors


  • The Health Secretary announced in June an initial £100,000 funding to allow the Golden Jubilee National Hospital to put in place an infrastructure of staff and investment portfolios to source the fund.
  • The fund will enable ideas, where there is a proof of concept but not evidence of benefits to NHS Scotland patients, to be tested.
  • Funds will be allocated to proposals that are not just inventive and clever but meeting a need of the NHS as an organisation – and by definition those of patients, families and communities – to deliver a real, defined gain in quality.
  • Decisions to allocate funds will use the available evidence in a systematic and objective way, with a clear independent and specialist element in terms of advice.
  • The Golden Jubilee National Hospital (GJNH) is the largest specialist orthopaedic provider of hip and knee replacements in Scotland, one of the largest cardio-thoracic centres in the UK, and home to heart transplantation services, adult congenital cardiac services and the Scottish Pulmonary Vascular Unit.
  • In July, Health Secretary Alex Neil visited the Golden Jubilee and met staff involved in the creation of their new Innovation Centre, which aims to put NHS Scotland at the forefront of health and social care advances.
  • The Digital Health Institute offers a fusion of health, design, technology and business knowledge from the network of its partners that span health and care providers, third and private sectors, higher education and business development agencies. This partnership offers a strong supply of diverse innovation opportunities that can flow and iterate through its innovative business model. The Digital Health Institute is part of the Scottish Funding Council’s £124 million investment in Scottish Innovation Centres - partnerships between businesses and universities focussed on what industry needs.


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