The Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre (DHI) and Future Care Capital (FCC) have agreed a multi-year innovation partnership to encourage and nurture collaboration with developers of digital technologies, starting with a focus on the promotion of mental well-being and supporting those with mental health challenges.
In Scotland, a recent survey has shown that a fifth of those aged 16 years and over reported poor General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) scores which is an indicator of potential mental health problems. There is also a prevalence of depression and anxiety in the population. To not tackle these issues could have serious negative consequences and would be a missed opportunity to build economies of well-being.
Despite the gloomy statistics, new and disruptive innovations are being developed – now is the time to accelerate their development, adoption, and scale them up as a means of ensuring the resilience of the population and future generations.
Both DHI & FCC have amassed significant knowledge and expertise in understanding how to support health and care providers and their service users to better understand what is possible in the future – moving forward with this transformational service change will put the individual and their family at the centre of the process. By giving them access to the tools and services they need to make informed choices about their health and wellbeing, to tell their stories only once and to activate services on their own terms, we will stand a much better chance of building a sustainable model of mental health and wellbeing services.
The collaboration will seek to promote third sector and local community resources as equal partners in the wider ecosystem, by surrounding an individual and their circle of care as a better way of serving their needs, to understand their lived experience and their personal aspirations. Specifically, over the next 12 months, we will: scout and identify innovative developers, start-ups, and spinouts currently working on solutions for mental health and well-being; create a capacity building and programme of support to these companies through informational sessions to understand how they can sell their digital technologies into the NHS and social care providers; engage key decision-makers and opinion leaders to educate them on what is possible and catalyse action so that barriers to adoption can be addressed to enable rapid scale-up; and undertake a gap analysis to inform future developmental needs and other changes that could speed up adoption and maximise impact.
Part of this work will be delivered via the Rural Centre of Excellence for digital health and care innovation, which is one of the first projects to be completed as part of a £5 Million capital investment from the UK Government, delivered through the Moray Growth Deal by the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre.
The Moray Growth Deal aims to stimulate sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Moray and is a joint initiative supported by £100 million investment from the UK and Scottish governments, Moray Council, and partners from across the public and third sectors and private businesses.
George Crooks, Chief Executive Officer at DHI, said:
“We are delighted to be collaborating with FCC and proud to be leading a Living Lab for Mental Wellbeing in the Moray region which will be a natural locus for our collaboration with FCC. This is a hugely exciting partnership that speaks to our civic ambitions and our desire to make Scotland one of the most innovative small nations while delivering real and positive change for the people of Scotland.”
John Grumitt, Advisor to the Board of Trustees at FCC, said:
“Our focus over the past 12 months has been on how we can ensure those with mental health issues are better supported, given the impact of the pandemic and waiting times for care only getting longer. This collaboration between FCC and DHI puts all of that hard work into practice and we are confident the outcomes will generate accelerated patient access to innovative care, paving the way for adoption across wider regions and nations.”
UK Government minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord said:
“This fantastic innovation partnership will help patients and social care providers to gain access to the latest tools and technologies, and so improve mental health outcomes for people in Moray and beyond.
“The UK Government is supporting the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre (DHI) with £5 million as part of its £32.5 million investment in the Moray Growth Deal.”