Article
Andrea Haworth, Head of Clinical Services at Congenica

Congenica's Andrea Haworth selected as NHS Innovation Accelerator fellow

By Anna Masefield - 06 July 2015

Andrea Haworth, Head of Clinical Services at Congenica, has been selected as one of 17 new fellows by the recently established NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA) to assist with the faster and more effective adoption of proven innovations within the NHS. 

The aim of NIA is to create the conditions and culture necessary for such innovations to be adopted and diffused faster and more systematically throughout the NHS.

Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s National Medical Director, announcing the successful applicants for the scheme, said: “The NHS stands on the cusp of a revolution in innovation. At its heart, innovation is the will to do better, to find solutions for existing needs or new problems through more effective products, processes, technology or even the way we deliver services. Today we increase the opportunity for improving patient care by creating new conditions for ideas to thrive.”

Andrea Haworth says: “I am delighted to be selected as one of the fellows in this exciting new initiative. I want to assist the NHS in delivering the best treatment to its patients. To have innovative technology adopted by the NHS provides an internationally recognised endorsement of quality; so this initiative is a win-win for all involved.”

Congenica’s SapientiaTM technology allows scientists and doctors to interrogate all known human genes for mutations that could be the underlying cause of a patient’s inherited disease. This approach presents a transformational change over current diagnostic practice in the NHS.

Andrea continues: “Sapientia enables a tenfold increase in diagnostic yield, shorter test turnaround times, and improved clinical decision support for identifying disease-causing mutations. This will allow doctors to implement a more personalised management and treatment plan for the patient.”

Andrea explains that the patients are often very young children: “Adoption of this approach by the NHS will speed up diagnosis of their condition so that care can be given in a shorter timeframe, reducing the stress and uncertainty for their parents.”

Cambridge-based Congenica is founded on world-leading genomic technology pioneered at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Department of Health.  Congenica’s analytical tool, Sapientia, has been validated by Genomics England as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project and has been adopted for use in the NHS by the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine.

The NHS Innovation Accelerator programme was launched on 7 January 2015 by Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England National Medical Director, alongside host organisations the Health Foundation and UCL Partners, working in collaboration with patient groups and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across the country. The NIA aims to deliver on commitments detailed within NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, providing support for the delivery of innovation into practice.

Professor Sir David Fish, Managing Director of UCLPartners, said: “Through such national and international partnerships we can create stronger platforms for delivering the best and latest healthcare solutions to patients and the population where it matters most to them.”

Through the fellowship, they will receive mentorship from seasoned innovators, such as Lord Ara Darzi, Lord Kakkkar and Professor Andrew Morris.  Fellows will also receive a bursary and support through the Academic Health Science Networks to diffuse these new ways of working across the country.

17 fellows have been appointed and the NIA programme is now moving into the implementation period.

More information: http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/innovation/nia/

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