HIEC for Health in Norfolk
How to help people in Norfolk live longer, healthier lives is being tackled by a new high-powered team from the NHS, local government and education.
Ten public organisations have come together to make an application to form a HIEC – a Health Innovation and Education Cluster.
They are Norfolk Community Health & Care, NHS Norfolk, NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney, three hospital trusts (Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Queen Elizabeth King's Lynn and the James Paget), Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Foundation Trust, Norfolk County Council, the University of East Anglia and City College Norwich. Also on board are organisations from outside the public sector, including Archant, the publisher of regional and local newspapers.
Ten million pounds has been set aside by the Department of Health to fund the cost of setting up these Clusters across the UK.
If it gets the go-ahead, the HIEC will enable its member organisations in Norfolk and Waveney to work together to address major health and care issues affecting the East of England on a long-term basis. It has chosen independent healthy ageing as the initial focus.
It is hoped that patients would benefit directly – that new products might be launched and new assistive technologies deployed. Additionally, the HIEC will enhance education and training for healthcare staff.
Steering the HIEC group is Norfolk Community Health and Care, which provides a wide range of primary care based services, intermediate care and community services such as district nursing, community paediatrics and health visiting.
The HIEC group has been formulating its plans over the summer and has just been given the green light to make a formal application to the government for acceptance and funding. It makes its bid in October and will be told whether it will join the first wave of HIECs in December 2009.
In launching the concept of HIECs earlier this year, the Health Minister Lord Darzi said: “HIECs are special partnerships that draw on the wealth of skills and experience of their members to improve the development of high quality care and services by quickly bringing the benefits of research and innovation directly to patients.”