I had the pleasure of attending the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, on Monday 3 March (the week before this magazine went to presss) - it proved to be a valuable day for learning about initiatives in healthcare. There was a buzz at the Expo, created by the programme, delegates and exhibitors coming together to discuss innovations that could make the NHS fit for the future. Innovation is always exciting and given the backdrop of pressures the NHS faces today, the time is ripe for people and concepts to rejuvenate the health system for its staff and patients.
The programme hung around two main stages, one of which held mini debates and the other which saw the bigger names speaking, such as Sir Bruce Keogh, who set out how he saw the NHS of the future, and set the tone for innovation.
Much of the content was centred around improving the care delivered to patients and the efficiency and systems behind it, so that the work pressures on staff are minimised. The most exciting innovations I heard about were of direct relevance to primary care nurses: a presentation on how telehealth is working in certain areas, and the benefits it brings; the capability of general practice for the future; a new way of approaching care - 'House of Care' - and a scheme in which patient 'Practice Champions' help general practices to achieve goals by giving their time to work with other patients.
Meanwhile it was also NHS Change Day. A Change Day wall for people's pledges was covered by the end of the day, and then we learned that Change Day had trended on Twitter. The excitement and satisfaction in the grassroots idea having captured the attention and imagination of so many was obvious.
We can all make small changes to the way we work that will improve outcomes. The challenge is for successful innovative ways of working to spread from pockets across the whole of the NHS.