£4m moneypot for obesity, alcohol and medicines compliance innovations

DH announces funding for creation of cutting-edge solutions to key health challenges

Businesses are being offered a share of a £4m moneypot to develop innovative solutions to improve medicines compliance and reduce the impact of obesity and alcohol-related illnesses.

The Department of Health (DH) has opened two competitions worth up to £2m each to encourage the creation of cutting-edge devices and systems that can help the NHS save money and improve the health of the population.

Alcohol and obesity-related diseases are estimated to cost the NHS more than £7billion a year, and studies show that between 6-10% of all hospital admissions could be prevented if prescription medication was taken correctly.

As part of the challenge, businesses are being invited to put forward ideas for anything from a device which helps people monitor what they eat or drink to a personalised care package to help people take their medication as prescribed.

Technology and innovation have an important role to play in helping to address the healthcare challenges facing the NHS

The initiative is being delivered through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), which is designed to encourage government departments and other agencies to ensure that a proportion of their procurement budget goes to innovative companies and that they are procuring innovative solutions to some of the challenges they face.

Health Minister, Lord Howe said: “Technology and innovation have an important role to play in helping to address the healthcare challenges facing the NHS. That is why we are investing £20m in new and creative ideas and projects that can make a difference to patients’ lives.

“These competitions provide an opportunity to develop highly innovative solutions for some of the biggest health problems of our time and we look forward to seeing the results.”

Sir David Nicholson, chief executive of the NHS, added: “Investing in innovation is vital for a modern and efficient NHS. It will benefit the patient, the taxpayer and the UK.

“The SBRI is a key part of our Innovation, Health and Wealth agenda, which aims to spread innovation throughout the NHS and these competitions provide vital funding for businesses to explore, develop and test new technology before it becomes commercially available.”

These competitions provide an opportunity to develop highly innovative solutions for some of the biggest health problems of our time and we look forward to seeing the results

The competitions are open to all organisations, not just those currently working in the health sector, and will be managed by NHS London and NHS Midlands and East.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, which runs the SBRI programme, said: “The process enables government to engage with innovative ideas from industry, acting as a lead customer to address intractable challenges. It is really positive to see DH and the NHS building on their experience of previous successful SBRI competitions and using this approach to address new areas and drive innovation.”

Companies