SC1 launch event: Key takeaways

Christina Sothinathan, NHS Navigator at DigitalHealth.London recently attended the launch of SC1, a new life science innovation district in south central London, which aims to transform healthcare, accelerate innovation, and tackle nation-wide health and care problems. Read on to find out her takeaways from the event.

SC1 brings a new opportunity to develop a strong strategic framework and foster collaboration between world class academia and healthcare across King’s Health Partners, Southwark and Lambeth Councils to tackle some of the biggest problems we face today across the health and care space. I was delighted to attend the launch event for SC1 and be part of several inspiring conversations around SC1’s vision and hear about exciting initiatives in the pipeline.

The discussions at the launch event fell into four themes:

Tackling health inequalities

A key theme throughout the event was the importance of tackling of health inequalities, which have become more apparent since COVID-19. The community of Lambeth and Southwark consists of a diverse population and there are high levels of inequality and poor living standards here and generally across London.

SC1 will act as a hub for the health and care ecosystem to work together to help reduce inequalities in Lambeth, Southwark, London and across the UK. This ties into SC1’s overarching vision of being a unique, collaborative world class hub which encourages collaboration between clinicians and academic health researchers. This is to develop local innovations and solutions to tackle global problems, improve health equity and population health.

Creating jobs for local people

SC1 will support the local residents of Lambeth and Southwark by bringing high-quality job opportunities to the community which in itself could help to tackle health inequalities in the region and also inspire the younger generation from the local area to work in a world class hub. By utilising the best of capabilities, insights, knowledge and talents within the local community, SC1 will be central to improving population health and strengthening the workforce which will not only impact the rest of London, but also the UK and worldwide.

Speeding up innovation

Many speakers discussed galvanising on the speed of innovation we saw during the pandemic and acknowledged the importance of adopting an integrated approach (people, diseases, places), to successfully capture the urgency we saw in the pandemic and foster digital empowerment and stimulate economic growth.

Creating the conditions for innovation to flourish

Collaboration and utilising each other’s strengths will be key to enabling innovation to flourish. Partnerships with digital health companies where patients are at the centre, will be key to tackling health inequalities. This is particularly pertinent in the following areas: AI, mental health, personalised care, early detection and prevention. Improving access and involving the voices of the community when it comes to co-designing these solutions is crucial as we must consider what is important to them.

Innovation hubs should be easily accessible by hospitals and vice versa, as clinicians should be involved in identifying unmet clinical needs alongside academic researchers. Translation should also be brought closer to patients as only approximately 10% of innovations at the ideation stage, gets to patients.

What this means for DigitalHealth.London

SC1 brings an exciting opportunity for DigitalHealth.London and our partners to develop new partnerships and form meaningful collaborations with patients, clinicians and academic health researchers, right on our doorstep. SC1 will serve as an incredibly valuable platform for the innovators on our programmes by helping propel forward their projects and innovations within the health and care space.

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