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NHS must promote culture of innovation, says report

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NHS leaders must do more to promote a culture of innovation in clinical practice and management, according to a report.

The report Leading Innovation, published this week by the NHS Confederation, says that if the NHS wants to continue giving high quality care to all, it must constantly look at new practices and technologies which will save money  and drive efficiency.

The report interviewed clinicians and managers who had been involved in attempts to introduce innovation within their organisations, in addition to members and academics who specialise in innovation in the NHS.

It found that the main barriers to innovation were excessive bureaucracy, lack of access to innovation budgets to support the costs of implementing innovation and a climate of risk-aversion.

Many clinicians with innovative ideas face opposition from colleagues, and in some cases senior clinicians were uncomfortable with junior clinicians having a superior knowledge of innovative technologies, findings show.

Launching the report on Thursday, Steve Barnett, chief executive of the NHS Confederation and member of the National Leadership Council said:

‘The NHS historically has a poor reputation in promoting innovation in clinical practice and management. There is a responsibility amongst all NHS leaders, including commissioners and providers, to address the slow uptake of proven technologies and ideas and to look at how we can be putting the best practices for patients in place.’

The NHS Confederation annual conference and exhibition 2009 is taking place from 10 – 12 June at ACC Liverpool.

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