Surrey Heartlands Expo 2018 - The view from the floor

The Surrey Heartlands Expo 2018 was an exciting celebration of innovation and technology, providing a unique opportunity to connect more than 300 delegates from health, social care, academia and industry to look at how innovative technologies and services can further improve services for people in Surrey.

With a heavy focus on digital health technology and system transformation, KSS AHSN worked with Surrey Heartlands STP to deliver this opportunity to engage with industry and kick start some exciting conversations with national leaders about integrated care. 

We caught up with a number of key delegates and speakers during the day to get their insight on the Expo.

Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands, said that innovation had a key role to play.

"I think innovation is really important to the partnership because we have to start doing things differently. The population is ageing, the demand is forever increasing, so unless we can find different ways to do things we're going to be in trouble," she explained.

"By bringing health and social care colleagues plus partners in industry together, we have new opportunities that we haven't had before to work in completely different ways."

Amongst the keynote speakers at Sandown on Tuesday was Matthew Swindells, NHS England's National Director for Operations and Information.

Mathew led an engaging session on "Population health in the new world", where he highlighted that in order to provide better health and better care, we need to make better use of our resources and to work in partnership. 

With a tongue and cheek reference to utilising the innovation of 'the telephone', he praised 111 for dealing with the heavy winter pressures this year. 

Mathew encouraged people in the room to challenge working practises, and ended with the reminder that "we need to park organisational interests and personal egos at the door to achieve integrated care in the NHS."

Suzanne Rankin, Chief Executive for Ashford and St Peters Hospital NHS Trust commented on the presence of industry at Expo, agreeing that "the relationship with industry and the role of innovation is immensely important". She stressed that the use of modern digital healthcare technologies is going to be key to addressing some of the NHS's biggest challenges.

Guy Boersma, Managing Director at Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, took to the stage to discuss artificial intelligence, machine learning and its value in addressing workforce challenges and our ageing population.

He said that while technology could be a solution, public trust and confidence in the usage of the data and algorithms is key to the future use of AI in healthcare.

We also heard from Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the Kings Fund, who said that "the speed of change is only as fast as the build-up of trust across the systems."

Chris shared some of the Kings Fund new animations on "How the NHS works in England" and stressed the importance of integrating health and social care, working in a patient centred way where budgets are shared to ensure that care wraps around the patient, not the other way around.

Matthew Kershaw, Senior Fellow at the Kings Fund, reflected on how the Expo showed the enthusiasm and involvement of staff right across the system.

"They are looking at engaging with staff, patients third sector, industry and changing the way the health service is organised for the benefit of patients and staff," he said.

"I think the enthusiasm has come across in all the sessions I've seen. I've been really impressed by it and I think that while there's lots to do and real challenges ahead, that I back the Surrey system to carry on making great strides, as it's clearly starting to do already."

The final word comes from Mark Hamilton, Executive Clinical Director for the Surrey Heartlands Academy, who shared his ambitions for the Surrey Heartlands STP

 "To create a health and social care system that has no boundaries, that people don't see those walls, that they know they're going to get the highest quality of health and social care wherever they live in Surrey. And actually for people to look at Surrey and understand the incredible things that Surrey has achieved with its togetherness."