NHS Quality Improvement through Business Bridge

Keele University is a long and proud partner of the NHS, working particularly closely with its local hospitals.  Through its collaboration with University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) – the organisation which manages the Royal Stoke and County Hospitals – the University aims to advance the healthcare and medical technologies available to the local population.

Through the Business Bridge* programme, a joint initiative between the University and UHNM, companies in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire are able to receive fully-funded support that allows access to University researchers and NHS clinicians, as well as innovation vouchers that enable access to professional specialists within the healthcare market.

The latest development between the two parties is focusing on the need for better healthcare products and how Staffordshire businesses can assist in the production of them.  The University has linked up with UHNM’s Quality Improvement programme – an initiative which will see up to 500 staff across all areas of the Trust tasked with spotting opportunities for improvement and identifying potential solutions.

Dr Clare O’Neill, Keele University’s Head of Partnership Development for Health, said: “By matching these improvement opportunities with local companies who could invent or design a solution, our Business Bridge programme can speed up the process of creating better healthcare products.  For example, it might be a device to help surgeons carry out an operation more effectively, or an app to help patients get advice on how to take care once they’re out of hospital.  By getting better products out there faster, everybody wins – the patients, the people looking after them, and local employers.

“Whilst participation in the healthcare supply chain from the Staffordshire business community is currently below the national average, there is huge potential for local businesses to not only get involved in these new opportunities but to also make a real difference to the county’s healthcare.”

Professor Tony Fryer, Research and Development Director at UHNM, added: “Through our Quality Improvement initiative, we are working with colleagues across our hospitals to help identify areas where potential improvements can be made.  We know that in some cases we may need external support, and that’s where our Business Bridge partnership comes in – driving improvement in the NHS through the latest innovations.”

ERDF and UHNM logos Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent businesses can benefit from a range of specialist support and funding, more details of which are available through Keele University’s Business Gateway - 01782 733001 / business.gateway@keele.ac.uk.

*The Business Bridge project (ref: 32R16P00713) is part-funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds England Growth Programme 2014-2020.