Improving mental health and surgery: apply for contracts

Organisations can apply for contracts of £100,000 to develop innovative new products and services that improve mental health provision or surgery in the NHS

NHS England and Academic Health Science Networks are to invest in projects that either develop new products and services to improve mental health provision or create new technologies for use in surgery.

The 2 competitions are being run alongside each other under SBRI (Small Business Research Initiative). They are open to single companies or organisations from the private, public and third sectors, including charities.

Under both competitions, there is a first phase for organisations to carry out studies into the feasibility of their ideas. Up to £100,000 is available per project. The best ideas could go on to win further funding in a second phase for more detailed product development.

Find out more about SBRI.

Improving mental health services

Mental health problems account for a quarter of ill health in the UK and have an economic and social cost of £105 billion a year.

More and more people are needing specialist mental health services, and there are pressures on services to meet demand with the appropriate level of care and to reach all people needing treatment.

The NHS and the Academic Health Science Networks of the South West, Wessex and West of England are to invest in projects in 3 categories:

• children and young people’s mental health, including identifying mental health issues early and ways of helping children to stay in education
• depression, self-harm and suicide, including technologies that could be used to alleviate depression and self-harm and prevent suicide
• new models of care, including ways of sharing data between mental health service providers

New technologies in surgery

The number of surgical admissions increased from 3.7 million in 2003/04 to 4.7 million in 2013/14.

Waiting times for non-urgent surgery are on the rise. There was a 39% increase in the number of patients waiting more than 18 weeks for planned treatment in the 12 months to February 2017.

The NHS, Innovation Agency Academic Health Science Network for the North West and East Midlands Academic Health Science Network will invest in technologies that can help surgeons to carry out their work better and more cost effectively.

There are 2 categories:

• pre-operative surgical simulation technologies, including ways in which surgeons could be better informed or practice in advance use of technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics
• technologies to help with surgical procedures, including technologies to improve decision-making or reduce the cost of surgery and robots to carry out some procedures

Find out more about how Innovate UK supports innovation in health and life sciences.

Competition information

• the competitions are open, and the deadline for applications is at midday on 29 November 2017
• SBRI is open to any organisation that can demonstrate a route to market for its idea
• successful projects will attract 100% funded development contracts
• phase 1 contracts are expected to be up to £100,000 and last 6 months
• phase 2 contracts could be worth up to £1 million
• briefing events will be held on 31 October 2017 and 3 November 2017

Find out more about these competitions and apply.

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