Back in September 2017, I attended the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, which attracted a total of 5,068 people, including more than 300 Chief Executives and Chairs, more than 800 Directors, and more than 500 Heads of Service. Most importantly, people with health conditions – young, and old, as well as carers, were present and highly visible at this conference, thankfully!

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There was over 200 hours of speakers, workshops and sessions exploring the latest developments and innovations across health and social care. This year’s Expo focused  on the actions we can all take to deliver the vision of the NHS Five Year Forward View to create a better, more joined-up and more responsive NHS in England.

In the social world, there were more than 4,600 people tweeting about NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017, resulting in more than 20,000 mentions of the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo over the two days. This meant that more than 336,000 people saw Expo-related tweets during the course of the event.

Below, you’ll find some highlights from the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017, taken from NHS England’s website, as well as as a time-lapse of the Expo, from start to finish!

The Mayor of Greater Manchester praised “heroic” NHS staff

Professor Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of NHS England was joined by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, to open the NHS Heath and Care Innovation Expo 2017.

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Andy Burnham rightly started with a tribute to the “heroic efforts” of NHS staff for their care of the victims of the Manchester terror attack in May 2017. Speaking just a mile from the arena, where 22 innocent people lost their lives, the Mayor said: “In the aftermath of the attack, I felt the strength in our National Health Service in Manchester and saw a service that today is so much more than the sum of its parts. We are blessed with great people leading the NHS.”

Andy Burnham referred to the NHS’ 70th birthday and Manchester being the birth place of the NHS, saying: “We are on the brink of a momentous year. It was at Trafford General Hospital where Aneurin (Nye) Bevan came to inaugurate the new National Health Service (NHS).

“This is the home of radical forward thinking and we have a real job of work to do to change a 20th century treatment service into a 21st century health promotion service. We have the ability to be the pioneers of that paradigm shift.”

He also reflected on the major themes of the conference, by setting out the Manchester’s ambitions for integrating NHS and social care. Greater Manchester became the first region in the United Kingdom to take control of its combined health and social care budgets as part of a landmark devolution process on 1st April 2016.

Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards

Heroic frontline NHS staff who treated and supported victims of the Manchester and London terror attacks, and the Grenfell fire, earlier this year, were given special recognition as part of the Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards.

Staff, including nurses, doctors and paramedics, received a standing ovation as the Special Recognition honour was announced by Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England. Jane said:

“Compassion has never been more in the spotlight than over the last few months of this year. We’ve had appalling horror – terrorism in London and Manchester, and the Grenfell fire. These tragedies have affected so many people across the country, including NHS staff. They highlighted the resilience and the compassion of the NHS staff who time after time responded to victims, who had suffered unimaginable injuries – putting the needs of those people first”.

The full list of winners can be found here.

Ethel at the #NHS70 Hub

Ethel Armstrong, aged 87, was at the NHS on its first ever day, and spoke to delegates about her 42-year career as an NHS cadet, nurse and radiographer. She really was one of the stars of this year’s Expo!

Ethel described what it was like in the early days of the NHS, telling the audience how patients had to bring their own sandwiches, but even then, she said she knew: “it was to be a big wide world that I wanted to be a part of.”

NASA meets Hollywood as new technology helps tackle frailty in older people

During the Expo, NHS England revealed that the NHS is trialling new wearable sensors, based on technology used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the computer-generated imagery (CGI) film industry, to help identify older patients at risk of falls as part of a new drive to tackle frailty.

NHS Digital Academy Launch

The NHS Digital Academy was officially launched at this year’s Expo. The Academy, which is led by Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation in partnership with Harvard Medical School and The University of Edinburgh, will see three of the world’s top universities provide virtual masterclasses in leadership and digital as part of a comprehensive programme to provide NHS staff with the right skills to drive forward digital innovation.

Practical guides to support disabled patients to access GP services online

NHS England published guides aimed at supporting people with sight loss, hearing loss, autism and learning disabilities, to use GP services online – for things like booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions and viewing their medical records.

Ambulance services begin new response times

Four of England’s ambulance services have begun the roll out of new response times announced earlier this year. Professor Jonathan Benger, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Urgent Care, and NHS England’s lead paramedic, Richard Webber, told delegates that a further four ambulance trusts would be switching to the new target times before the winter begins.

App to help children and young people with their health

An app, designed with, and for, children and young people, is helping them understand more about their health. At a special National Quality Board, which was co-chaired by representatives from the NHS Youth Forum, NHS Go was showcased to the audience.

NHS to transform patient care by routinely offering cutting edge treatments

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, unveiled new plans to free up funds for the latest world class treatments by slashing hundreds of millions from the nation’s drugs bill. He also announced that new and cutting edge treatments will be routinely available for the first time. This will include revolutionary new treatment for Hepatitis C, new measures to take off up to another £300 million from the nation’s medicines bill, trailblazing new treatment to restore sight, routine commissioning of the latest technology to help children with hearing difficulties and an expansion of the Test Bed programme that is testing the treatments and care models of tomorrow.

Jeremy Hunt unveiled plans for digital-led NHS treatment by 2018

Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, made a pledge that every patient should be able to access their medical records and book appointments with their GP via an app by 2018. The app has been piloted in south-east London, where patients can already book appointments with their GPs, access NHS 111, receive online consultations with their GPs and order repeat prescriptions using their smartphones.

New quality of life measure for recovering cancer patients

NHS England announced five areas where a new quality of life metric will be piloted, as part of an ambitious plan to radically improve care and support for people once treatment ends. The ground-breaking new approach is set to drive improvements in after care which includes personalised plans for people with cancer outlining not only their physical needs, but also other support they may need, such as help at home or financial advice. The new metric, which is the first of its kind, will use questionnaires to measure how effective this support is and the data will be made available on My NHS – helping patients, the public, clinicians and health service providers see how well their local after cancer care support is doing.

New drive to save thousands of people from heart attacks and strokes

The NHS, working with Public Health England (PHE), announced a new drive to prevent heart attacks and strokes, saving thousands of lives by taking a more integrated approach to cardiovascular care. Sir Bruce Keogh, the National Medical Director of NHS England, urged the new sustainability and transformation partnerships (STPs) to take coordinated action to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of these life-threatening conditions.

Leading support for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities

In her keynote speech, Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England, urged nurses to lead the way in improving the lives of millions of people living with a mental health condition or learning disability.

Launch of 70/70 campaign

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh called for 70 NHS Trusts to sign up to plans to encourage more young people to volunteer in their local NHS as part of its 70th birthday year.
This comes after Sir Bruce made a personal pledge to HRH The Prince of Wales to support the Step Up To Serve #iwill initiative. Another brilliant way for young people (and adults) to get involved in the work of their local NHS is by becoming a patient research ambassador.

Interactions in the exhibition

There were a wide variety of organisations exhibiting at this year’s NHS Expo. I particularly enjoyed discussions with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) Health and Wellbeing Alliance, which is a partnership between the voluntary sector and the health and care system to provide a voice and improve the health and wellbeing for all communities. I’ve spoken on many occasions about the lack of cohesion between the voluntary, public and private sectors, and how this disjointedness is both damaging and inefficient. So much more can be achieved by working together, capitalising on the collective knowledge, skills and motivation to drive positive change for all. Before I left the VCSE exhibition area, I wrote down my message for delegates about the importance of collaborative working and co-production in research and practice:

“When ‘I’ becomes ‘we’, illness becomes wellness.”

Take a closer look at the materials shared this year

Please click here to view all of the available speaker presentations, main stage videos and transcripts of speeches.

Plan for next year, and get involved

The Health and Care Innovation Expo team are already planning Expo 2018, which will be held on Wednesday 05 and Thursday 06 September 2018 in Manchester.

If you would like to get involved in Expo 2018 and make sure your voice is heard by national and international leaders, you should email england.expo@nhs.uk to talk to the Expo team about how you can contribute.

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Credit: NHS England

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Written by simonrstones

Simon Stones, BSc (Hons), AMRSB, is a Biomedical Sciences graduate and a doctoral researcher in child and family health. He is a passionate activist and ambassador for young people living with invisible illnesses, inspired and empowered by his own journey with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and inflammatory bowel disease.

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