£100k funding boost to kickstart south London’s most promising new health and care projects

DigitalHealth.London Accelerator company GetUBetter and Digital Pioneer Fellow Ben Wanless are among the five recipients of Health Innovation Network Innovation Grants packages of £10,000 to £30,000 which have been awarded to help kickstart innovative health and care projects.

The winners of five Innovation Grants awards have been announced by the Health Innovation Network, working in partnership with Health Education England (HEE). In all there were 32 applications for the awards.

All of the chosen innovations align to key NHS priorities by addressing major health challenges such as managing musculoskeletal pain, mental health and supporting people with long term conditions. Each project has been given between £10,000 – £30,000 to help them deliver the initial results needed to justify wider-roll out. Many projects are working with local boroughs and a wide range of commercial partners.

This year’s grant winners are:

  • Dr Joel Parker, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, OXLEAS NHS Foundation Trust: Fun and Fitness is a community sports development programme to support adults with learning disabilities to increase physical exercise and improve physical and mental health outcomes. The project is a bespoke community sports development programme within the Royal Borough of Greenwich that will be formalised into a manual to be shared with services across south London.
  • Rishi Goel, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Lead for IBD Services, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: For the first time in South West London, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients will be able to self-manage their care and communications with clinical teams via a digital patient portal. This project will trial the use of self-monitoring tools through ‘Zesty’ that is integrated with their electronic patient record allowing patients to become empowered with direct involvement in their care.
  • Kate Bramham, Consultant Nephrologist and Clinical Senior Lecturer, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: Improving the health of individuals living with diabetes and other long-term conditions using digital urine screening tool Healthy IO for early identification of chronic kidney disease (CKD). This condition is increasingly common and there is growing recognition that early identification and management is critical in delaying progression of the condition as well as related complications. In addition, CKD is can easily go undetected until it’s at the advanced stages. 
  • Professor Heather Jarman, Consultant Nurse in Emergency Care, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Ben Wanless, Consultant MSK Physiotherapist, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust: Transforming management of musculoskeletal acute back and leg pain in the Emergency Department through the digital self-management app getUBetter. This project will pilot prescribing the app to patients discharged from St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Emergency Department with lower back and leg pain.
  • Nimalini Ajith, Joint and Bone Health Physiotherapist, Public Health, Royal Borough of Kingston and Nicky Wilson, Consultant Physiotherapist, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: Delivering personalised exercise rehabilitation in Kingston and Southwark using artificial intelligence (AI) provided via a co-designed accessible app. This project aims to improve musculoskeletal health outcomes, promote healthy ageing and reduce demand on the NHS. It will pilot an AI-rehabilitation programme called ‘Good Boost’ in people’s home’s, local community venues and in public swimming pools, leveraging community assets to support people. Both non-clinical volunteers and leisure centre staff will be trained to facilitate this community-based digital solution, thereby overcoming digital exclusion and health inequity.

The winners were chosen after a rigorous selection process by expert panels. The five teams will be funded and supported by the Health Innovation Network over a 12-month period to  pilot their projects in south London and generate vital evidence of impact.

Lesley Soden, Programme Director for Innovation, at the Health Innovation Network, said:

“The impact of Covid-19 on our NHS services means that we need to look at different ways of working to improve health and care for people in south London. This funding is crucial to kick-start innovation projects to test out different innovations and new ways of partnership working. NHS teams often struggle to find substantial funding to pilot new ideas in real-world settings to demonstrate the kind of results they need for support for wider roll out across regions and potentially nationally.

“The quality of all this year’s applications was very high and the 2021 Innovation Grants projects we have selected are going to test  novel ways of using evidence-based innovations  digital solutions.

“We are so pleased that our previous grant winners in 2020 have gone on to deliver innovative health and care projects, with a handful being nominated for national awards this year. For the 2021 winners we’re looking forward to working with these teams to prove their concepts and demonstrate real world application to enable greater adoption across the health and social care system.”

See more information on the HIN Innovation Grants here.

GetUBetter is currently one of 20 digital health companies on the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by London’s three Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners, Imperial College Health Partners, and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.