£33m for new Welsh healthcare products and services

A financial injection, announced by the Welsh Government, has the potential to improve healthcare, grow the economy and create high quality jobs.

Cardiff University reports £24m will come jointly from the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Government. Over three years it will support ACCELERATE, the Welsh Health Innovation and Technology Accelerator, bringing together clinical, academic and business expertise to develop and deploy new, innovative products and services within the Welsh health and care system.

A further £9m of Welsh Government funding will be used to create additional health innovation centres across Wales.

The core aim of the centres will be to develop cutting edge health technology to improve the prevention, treatment and management of long-term chronic conditions and take advantage of new and emerging technologies.

The money was jointly announced on June 13th 2018 by Health Secretary Vaughan Gething and Economy Secretary Ken Skates.

ACCELERATE is led by the Life Sciences Hub Wales in partnership with Cardiff University, Swansea University and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. It will work with industry partners to speed up the translation of ideas into new technology products and services, and to accelerate the deployment and adoption of new technology products and services into health and care, creating lasting economic value in Wales.

Welcoming ACCELERATE, Professor Ian Weeks, Dean of Clinical Innovation at Cardiff University School of Medicine, said “The need for collaborative partnerships between universities, the health service and industry is well-recognised as a potential game-changer in creating improvements in the health and care of the population as well as providing an opportunity for economic development.”

In the case of the additional Welsh Government funding announced, organisations will be able to bid for money from the £9m pot to develop health innovation centres, similar to the Welsh Wound Innovation Centre and Respiratory Innovation Centre. These centres will bring together experts in health and business to develop, test and implement new ideas for the prevention and cure of chronic conditions as well as new and emerging technologies. The funding is on a loan repayment basis and it is expected that the centres will become self-financing by generating profits and drawing in funding from other sources.

Vaughan Gething said “Developing innovative new ways to prevent, treat and cure illness and disease is a vital part of the Welsh Government’s vision for the future of the NHS in Wales. The Accelerate programme and new health innovation centres fund will help develop new ideas for health products and services more quickly for use in our NHS and across the world.”

Ken Skates said “Our life sciences sector is thriving and worth around £2bn to the Welsh economy. This investment will help build on the expertise and talent we have already built up in his sector. In the long-term I expect to see this investment result in hundreds of highly skilled jobs and support economic growth.”

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