Lancashire Health MATTERS project summary

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The Lancashire Health MATTERS programme which ran from 2019 to 2023, provided Lancashire based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with guidance on funding and investment opportunities in the health and care sectors.

SMEs in Lancashire were able to gain access to NHS and social care markets via a Real-World Validation (RWV) or Innovation Validation Assessment (IVA). The RWV sought to validate the claims the SME had made on innovative approaches, practices, or products. This was done in a practical real-world setting, providing evidence that the innovations would be more efficient and effective when comparing them to existing products or practices. The aim being to make cost neutral if not more affordable to the NHS.

The IVA provided a wealth of insights based on baseline data, technical, market, financial and intellectual property. The IVA is a methodology that uses the same baseline data but in the absence of a Clinical Test Bed Facility. These assessments helped to support Lancashire businesses in securing investment to enable growth and create jobs within Lancashire.

Although the project encountered initial challenges along the way, due to the Covid19 lockdown and subsequent Furlow scheme which reduced the availability of staff in SMEs to engage with the project. The programme was still able to assist 64 SMEs, with nine of them completing an RWV, and a further six completing an IVA.

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I honestly don’t know where I’d be without the support I’ve received from UCLan for AI Rehab Ltd. I was a surgeon not a businessman so I hadn’t got a clue how to take my idea forward but I knew it was worth pursuing. The business experts at UCLan helped me with early designs of Slider, linked me with potential investors and helped me apply for funding grants.
Campus green space
Shameem Sampath, AI Rehab Ltd
Director, AI Rehab Ltd

The value of the project to local businesses can be illustrated by MedIMusic Ltd CEO Gary Jones who said: “The Real World Validation helped enable the business to cement its narrative relative to the cost benefit of using the service. Ultimately it underpinned our Value Proposition so that we can port the model to other Trusts with the confidence that we have addressed the check boxes they will want to see before adopting the service.”

Director of Yolo Wellbeing Ltd Cheryle Britton added: “I started working with the Health MATTERS programme to develop opportunities for our workplace wellbeing service, YOLO Experience, within the NHS. Through engaging with the programme, we were able to access the right contacts to deliver corporate social responsibility work. The result of which has led to paid work, and contracts, with nine NHS hospitals across the North West; currently accounting for 28% of turnover. We are now progressing with RWV Trials to provide independent data and a business case, which will significantly expedite the scale-up and franchise of the business.”

Whilst this project has closed, the University actively supports regional businesses. Find out more through our Enterprise and Engagement Unit who will review your enquiry and signpost you to the most appropriate area of continuing support.