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Local partnership to lead new Department of Health body

A 'community of excellence' including the University of Warwick, Coventry University, and local NHS Trusts has been chosen by the Department of Health to establish a new body to promote innovation and education in the NHS.

The West Midlands South Health Innovation and Education Cluster (HIEC), which will also include organisations from the commercial and charitable sectors, is one of 17 bodies being set up across the country. As well as promoting innovation and education, the body will also work to improve the health and well being of residents of Coventry and Warwickshire.

HIECs are cross sector partnerships between NHS organisations, the Higher Education Sector and blue chip companies.  The West Midlands South HIEC will also include GE Healthcare and Novo Nordisk.

Through joint working HIECs will provide professional education and training and promote innovation in healthcare by speeding up the adoption of research.

The West Midlands South HIEC will concentrate on the effective use of E-health and the promotion of wellbeing. The HIEC has identified a number of key clinical areas for its early work. These include staying healthy, long-term conditions such as diabetes and strokes, dementia and end-of-life care.

 In terms of education and training, the HIEC will focus on the development of 'human factors' to support the achievement of the highest standards of care, and on the use of technology to enhance education and training.

Associate Dean for Teaching at Warwick Medical School Professor Neil Johnson said: "We are absolutely delighted that the Department of Health has selected our proposal for a Health Innovation and Education Cluster.  The aim of these new bodies is to drive up quality standards in education and training and to make sure research innovation is more quickly translated into patient care.  We have identified some early areas of focus, but we expect our work to be responsive to the changing needs of the healthcare system. 

"As a result the HIEC will have a major impact on health and healthcare locally. However, we also believe that our HIEC has the potential to have much more far-reaching impact, nationally and internationally."

Martin Lee, Director of Clinical Development at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, said: "Our initial vision for the HIEC is that we will create a 'community of excellence'.

"We shall use the existing strengths of the partners to make system-wide changes that address the key health challenges facing us through innovation and education.

"As one of the partners, UHCW NHS Trust is proud to be a crucial part of this HIEC, as its goals mirror our own mission to care, achieve and innovate."

The Department of Health is investing more than £11 million in the HIECs and the 17 successful applicants were chosen by an independent panel, chaired by Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Notes to editors

The West Midlands South HIEC combines the knowledge and experience from:

*       University of Warwick, Coventry University
*       NHS Coventry, NHS Warwickshire, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust

*       Myton Hospices
*       GE Healthcare, NovoNordisk

For more information contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, University of Warwick, Communications Officer, k.e.parkes@warwick.ac.uk, 02476 150483, 07824 540863