Health partner aims to inspire innovators to support women’s health needs on International Women’s Day

Gillian Henderson (InnoScot Health)

A GENDER health gap undoubtedly remains across the world – but International Women’s Day (8 March) is a key opportunity to empower NHS Scotland innovators to help close that gap, says InnoScot Health. 

This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’, and formal NHS partner InnoScot Health is looking to do just that by assisting innovators to progress fresh ideas that actively support women’s health needs. 

Last year, it announced a fresh innovation call targeted at making breakthroughs in pregnancy and perinatal care through the identification of new thinking from NHS Scotland staff to promote and support good maternal and child health. 

In line with IWD aims to “assist women to be in a position of power to make informed decisions about their health,” InnoScot Health believes that the deep expertise and experience of the NHS workforce can improve how the service provides the right inclusive care for every woman. 

It is globally acknowledged that while women live longer than men on average, they suffer from more chronic illnesses. 

However, the World Economic Forum says that “by elevating the importance of women’s health, we can deliver better, more inclusive data and insights; more targeted, accessible solutions; and enable better care for women worldwide.” 

It is an area of intense focus for the Scottish Government with its Women’s Health Plan (2021-2024) setting out a bold strategy to improve health and reduce health inequalities. 

InnoScot Health Innovation Manager Frances Ramsay said: “We wholeheartedly support IWD 2024’s ‘Inspire Inclusion’ message in order to reduce inequalities in many areas across society including women’s healthcare. 

“IWD is also an important opportunity to celebrate and highlight work that’s already underway in Scottish healthcare to progress gender equality and enhance inclusivity for women. 

“It is only through better understanding of women’s health needs that we can make progress on improving outcomes for all women, impacting in turn on the wellbeing of the wider population. 

“Hand in hand with heightened awareness and more open discourse around mental health and wellbeing issues, we stand at an opportune moment for accelerating women’s health. 

“Female innovators may be best placed to drive that progress. As the IWD website says, ‘When women themselves are inspired to be included, there’s a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.’” 

She added: “Now is the time to give innovation for women’s needs the attention it deserves to inspire the most inclusive healthcare possible, and so we are calling on NHS Scotland workers to come forward with their ideas and solutions.” 

InnoScot Health’s pregnancy and perinatal innovation call seeks to inspire fresh ideas and new thinking from all health care staff. 

Progressive-minded NHS Scotland may consider submitting ideas that leverage FemTech for neonates needing specialist care; devices for managing and monitoring pregnancy; and methods of predicting complications before they happen and targeted treatments if they do arise. 

Head of Project Management, Gillian Hendersonsaid: “InnoScot Health can be a vital partner in the journey from idea to adoption for innovation in pregnancy and perinatal treatment and care. 

Our commercial support helps translate ideas into products and services that can then be deployed back into the NHS, resulting in improved outcomes, better processes, and a more sustainable health service.” 

To help encourage staff to come forward with innovative ideas for pregnancy and perinatal care, InnoScot Health’s package of support for NHS Scotland staff includes support up to the value of £25k for initial seed funding, regulatory support, project management, and the extensive innovation expertise of its highly experienced team. 

InnoScot Health works in partnership with NHS Scotland to identify, protect, develop and commercialise healthcare innovations to improve patient care. Formed in 2002, formerly known as Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL), InnoScot Health is a private company registered in Scotland (SC236303) and limited by guarantee with three shareholders – Scottish Ministers through the chief scientist office, NHS Tayside and the Golden Jubilee national hospital.  

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