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64INNOVATION UK mitted to making these a reality to ensure better, higher quality care for patients and offering a healthier future for our communities." But what have any of the SHAs done since then? A spokes-man for the Department of Health says: " We do not rou-tinely performance manage the £ 220m - each SHA will produce an annual innovation report which will set out what they have spent the money on, and the impact that investment has made." So it is too soon to say. However, alongside the £ 220m funding for SHAs, Lord Darzi announced " a support structure" to help prop up and steer their new plans. This is a partnership with the National Endowment for Science and Technology and the Arts ( NESTA) and the Young Foundation - both acting as advisers to the SHAs. Jonathan Kestenbaum, NESTA Chief Executive, said at the time: " The pressures on delivering high- quality healthcare have never been greater. Yesterday's solutions to tomorrow's problems won't work. The SHA Innova-tion Fund will ensure that fresh ideas and radical thinking by frontline staff can be delivered across the NHS." NESTA has developed expertise in how to encourage innovative public services, and the Young Foundation's main goal is to speed up society's ability to respond to changing needs through innovating and replicating new methods and models. Simon Tucker, head of the the Young Foundation's Health Launchpad, commented: " Since the Department of Health Regional Innovation Funds were announced, NESTA and the Young Foundation have been working closely with the SHAs, advising on the design of robust selection processes and investment criteria for innova-tion proposals. In order to capture learnings as the fund develops, and to ensure consistency in the advice given, we are also developing a comprehensive resource pack. " The experience of NESTA and the Young Foundation, through projects such as Health Launchpad, a health innovation incubator, demonstrates that by stimulating innovation this way - through the creation of new ventures within the health service - we can create innovative and sustainable solutions that help us tackle the challenge to deliver better outcomes for patients for much less." SHAs may be moving forward slowly, but they are far from standing still. A trawl through their websites, plus some calls to their media relations departments, paint an encouraging picture of what has already been achieved. For example, East Midlands has many examples of inno-vation already in place, but it only launched its invitation for bids to NHS organisations for its Regional Innova-tion Fund on 7 September. It said: " We are looking to support the spread and adoption of innovative, leading-edge approaches, tools, products, technologies across the East Midlands. We are inviting new innovation ideas or those suitable for adaptation from industry and other settings to improve patient care." Existing innovation successes include: a new website to increase Chlamydia screening in Lincolnshire; a special-ist advice centre for cancer patients known as " The Pod" in Nottinghamshire; a nutritional toolkit to help peo-ple with a learning disability choose their meals in Der-byshire; faster dispensing of medication to patients in Northamptonshire; and a leading approach to removing skin tumours in Leicestershire. Other SHAs can boast similar successes, and many exam-ples can be found on SHAs' own websites or at: www. healthcareinnovationexpo. co. uk One initiative from NHS Innovations Yorkshire and Hum-ber, ECGskills. net was launched in November 2008 and has since sold to more than 20 countries worldwide. It says: " ECGskills. net - a unique online training resource for doctors, nurses, paramedics and cardiac technicians involved in conducting and interpreting ECGs - was developed by Professor Channer, Sheffield Teaching Hos-pitals NHS Trust in conjunction with Medcom ltd., an online medical training company." Taking ideas forward can lead to radical improvements in the way health is delivered - whether they are simple, practical steps leading to more time- efficient working or large- scale technological advances - they all make a difference. But the Next Stage Review Report found that leadership, vision and investment in innovation ( particu-larly diffusion) varied across the NHS - which is why innovation is being made a legal obligation. Case studies now show that the innovation vision from the top has at last been caught by all the NHS organisa-tions below. But promoting and implementing the vision will remain a challenge. Life Sciences Blueprint A new blueprint to put innovation at the heart of healthcare delivery has been launched by Lord Drayson and Lord Darzi, who said: " By placing innovation at the heart of healthcare delivery we will help create a pio-neering NHS, one that responds to patients' expecta-tions, and one where the adoption of new ideas and the diffusion of innovation is encouraged and supported." One of the most significant measures in the blueprint is the " Innovation Pass", which will allow patients faster access to innovative medicines. To be adminis-tered by NICE, the " Pass" will allow time- limited use of innovative medicines on the NHS. It will be piloted in 2010/ 2011 with a budget of £ 25m. Other measures include the creation of a Strategic Health Authority Delivery Group to improve uptake and engagement between industry and the NHS. Healthcare Healthcare Overview