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How companies have come together during the pandemic to source and supply healthcare equipment

The Innovation Agency and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have joined forces with Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership to create an online solution to tackle supply challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

The website, known as the Innovative Solutions Portal, helps source healthcare supplies and match them with the areas of greatest need, predominantly in Cheshire and across the Liverpool City Region.

The new online service is aimed at those suppliers who have been directed by the Department of Health and Social Care to donate or supply to their local community, and at smaller companies that are not currently part of the NHS supply chain.

Since the start of the pandemic, companies across the region have made generous offers of support to health and care services in the form of personal protective equipment and other products.

The site builds on work already developed by the Innovation Agency and Alder Hey and aims to support the health and care system by providing a clear and simple process.

The Innovation Team at Alder Hey will manage the portal while the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership’s COVID-19 Supply Response (CSR) Team will assess needs in the health and care services. The Innovation Agency will use its commercial contacts to promote the site and signpost organisations to it.

Emma Hughes, Associate Chief Innovation Officer at Alder Hey, said:

“Alder Hey Innovation Centre has a new open innovation portal focused on sourcing innovative solutions, to solve current healthcare challenges.

“With the current COVID-19 priorities we expanded it to provide an alternative supplies and sourcing service to the region, since the 18 NHS trusts in Cheshire and Merseyside had been inundated with more offers of support than they could cope with.

“The new Innovative Solutions Portal promotes two-way traffic: colleagues in the health service can post their needs while innovative suppliers can be directed to a single place to be able to submit their solutions for assessment against the regional needs.”

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, said: “Suppliers have been incredibly generous with their offers of help to the point where the health system was being overwhelmed.
“Many weeks ago the Innovation Agency established a COVID product assessment service. Working with the portal developed by Alder Hey and the CSR team means that we can more quickly point products at the areas with the greatest demand.

“This is a great example of a collaboration being formed to meet a new and urgent need.”

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