Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trusts is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, treating around 1.5 million people a year and employing 20,000 staff.
As well as being the local hospital for Leeds people, it is a regional and national centre for specialist treatment, and a renowned centre for biomedical research.
It plays an important role in the training and education of medical, nursing and dental students and it is a centre of world-class research and innovation, working closely with academia and industry to pioneer new treatments.
In our Spotlight on the Trust, we look at the exciting steps it is taking to help develop a world-renowned innovation district in Leeds.
Innovation Pop Up hails new globally-leading era for Region’s healthtech
Nested within the Leeds General Infirmary and hailing the building of two new state-of-the-art hospitals, the Trust’s Innovation Pop Up is a dynamic new approach to accelerating the innovation, adoption and spread of health technologies within the hospital setting.
How does it work?
Industry innovators are already using the Innovation Pop Up to work closely with NHS staff – to understand what the hospital needs and to co-design the technological solutions.
Conversely, NHS staff can develop their own ideas and, with industry partners, identify what will best improve patient care.
Through the Innovation Pop Up, the Trust’s business development and innovation team discuss with NHS Innovators and potential industry partners what the NHS needs. They then work together to ensure they develop ideas which offer both parties good value.
Chris Herbert, Director of Operations, Research and Innovation at the Trust, said: “We are particularly interested in artificial intelligence, wearables, technologies that make care pathways smoother and more efficient, and in sustainability.
“But we don’t have all the answers. We are always receptive to new ideas from industry and to explore with them new options that we can co-develop.”
The Innovation Pop Up is not only a ‘safe space’ for innovators to explore and develop their ideas. It will also enable training, education, events and expos, bring in tech to showcase to staff, and provide a platform for young people to develop knowledge and skills associated with healthtech development.
“Fostering closer collaboration between clinical entrepreneurial talent and industry innovators in this way is an important part of developing a community and culture of innovation within our hospitals and beyond,” explained Chris.
The Innovation Pop Up will accelerate economic growth by encouraging businesses to locate in the city and city region.
“Economic growth and job creation are inextricably linked to improved health and care. Our Innovation Pop Up provides a perfect vehicle for industry partners to explore their options with us and the great potential our city and region offer.
“We’ve already brought in three new companies to the Leeds City Region and created new jobs, and there are potentially more in the pipeline” said Chris. “These include 3D LifePrints who are based in the Innovation Pop-Up, and Betalin who are based in Nexus.
“These companies are really different but both potentially bring significant benefits to patients and enhance the Innovation ecosystem in Leeds,“ continued Chris.
“3D Lifeprints is a really interesting company as they work with surgical teams to create 3D models of anatomies from actual case images to allow for pre-surgical planning. Whilst they started with a relatively small number of surgeons, there is a multiplier effect with this as others are also starting to embrace this.
“And Betalin have this cutting edge technology that could potentially benefit diabetes patients that allows living islet cells to be seeded onto a scaffold and implanted into patients. By giving clinical staff exposure to these sorts of technologies at an early stage and then working with them and the company to source other collaborators and manufacturing sites, you give clinicians exposure to the work it takes to bring these technologies to the clinic and an involvement in designing pivotal early-phase clinical trials which can then inspire them to then do more.”
The Pop Up is part of wider economic growth projections relating to the new hospitals’ development. Covering five hectares of city centre estate, the development is forecast to create 3,000 new jobs and bring about bring about economic benefits for the city and wider region of up to £11.2 billion.
Collaborating to underpin global position
The Innovation Pop Up offers an approach unmatched in the North of England and is a first step towards creating a world-class centre for healthcare innovation, as part of the emerging innovation arc in Leeds
The Leeds Innovation Arc is a strategic partnership between Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds’ universities and Leeds City Council. It aims to position Leeds and the Leeds City Region as leading global hub for the adoption and spread of healthtech innovation.
Chris believes there is a huge synergy with partners across the city and sees Leeds Academic Health Partnership as pivotal to closer collaboration.
“With the new hospitals development, the University of Leeds new Centre for Healthtech Innovation, and many other emerging healthtech initiatives all supported by the Region’s new Healthtech Catalyst, we are now entering a very exciting new chapter. It is attracting attention from across the sector and from government, locally and nationally.
“And we will be expanding at scale. I’m confident that in five years from now, we’ll have a thriving innovation ecosystem around the hospital, where staff with good ideas know where to go for support. Where there is every opportunity for collaboration between NHS and businesses to co-develop a wide range of products. And where innovation is being readily deployed and benefiting those we serve.”