Background and purpose

Our AHSC, Newcastle Health Innovation Partners (NHIP), is central to the development of a 29-acre site in the west end of Newcastle. The health innovation neighbourhood (on the former General Hospital and CAV site)” aims to tackle the major health and societal challenges faced by our population, whilst also reinforcing Newcastle’s international reputation in taking research from the bench to the bedside and beyond. The west end of Newcastle has a racially diverse population and is one of the most deprived areas of the city, so the health innovation neighbourhood has been designed from the ground up to work with citizens for citizens, creating a “living laboratory” that facilitates and evaluates the development of ground-breaking new medicines and technologies. All NHIP partners are involved in this development and are represented on a health innovation neighbourhood Stakeholder Group. Strong City Council and NHS influence is therefore vital to site plans.

Outcomes (achieved or projected)

Citizen consultation and engagement have been central to the health innovation neighbourhood development. The first phase of community consultation took place online in late 2020. A series of video call presentations, supported by an online consultation, provided a virtual space displaying the proposals. Local councillors and community groups distributed online consultations and questionnaires. When the platform closed in November 2020, the online survey had been completed 117 times. This provided valuable insight into the views of the local population and informed the outline masterplan proposal.

An application for outline planning permission was submitted in March 2021 and a decision is expected imminently. The procurement process is underway for tenders to appoint a Principal Development Partner. We are applying for grants to undertake the necessary remedial work on the site. Work has also started to define an on-site energy centre and landscaping options. We will ensure that all aspects of the site development are ecologically advanced, and carbon neutral.

Who will benefit and how

By amplifying our outputs and engaging the population beyond the boundaries of the physical site, through NHIP and other collaborative organisations, we will make substantial progress tackling the major and growing health inequalities faced by our region.  Beneficiaries include;

  • Citizens –Engaging and involving our local community, including citizens in rural and city locations, will enable us to fulfil our aspiration to deliver better research-led “Care Everywhere”, and to leave no-one behind.
  • Health & Social Care –In the coming months we will confirm themed hubs and establish the “golden threads” of research for the health innovation neighbourhood. This will in turn inform the nature of many of the buildings required. Currently, three themed multidisciplinary hubs centre on: (i) Integrated care; (ii) Healthy ageing across the life-course; and (iii) Precision health.
  • Researchers and clinicians –NHIP Director, Professor David Burn, chairs the health innovation neighbourhood Academic Group, which includes senior representation from both NHIP NHS Trusts, in addition to cross-Faculty colleagues at Newcastle University.
  • Life sciences and healthcare companies –Playing directly to the strengths of our AHSC, as outlined in our original application, we have already attracted significant interest from several UKRI and commercial organisations to co-develop regional and national infrastructure, particularly in the areas of ageing and multi-morbidity, diagnostics and rare diseases.

How the NHIP contributed to the outcomes

NHIP has facilitated and coordinated the development of the health innovation neighbourhood across Partners and through community and industrial engagement and will become the physical embodiment of NHIP.

Reflections and learnings

We envisage the health innovation neighbourhood to be a physical embodiment of our AHSC, innovating and boosting the regional economy via inward investment by industry and other commercial partners, the creation of jobs, and the improved health of our regional workforce.

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