Lightning Talk: Tackling COVID

The Newcastle Health Innovation Partners series of Lightning Talks started with a bang last week courtesy of Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust’s COO Martin Wilson and Fiona Matthews, Dean of Research and Innovation and Professor of Epidemiology at Newcastle University.

Here, NHIP’s Peter Noble reflects on the insightful talk which explored the ways in which partners across the region have helped play a leading role in tackling the pandemic.


If you bring together world-leading partners who have a passion to address inequalities during one of the world’s worst pandemics, and combine great science, analytics, service delivery and local authority collaboration, then you have last week’s inspiring NHIP Lightning Talk.

Delivered by Fiona Matthews and Martin Wilson on ‘Tackling COVID: NHIP in Action’, the event ignited the start of an exciting programme of 30-minute Lightning Talks over the coming months as NHIP drives improvements in research, innovation and education for the North East and North Cumbria.

So, how do we feel about a change of 10-year life expectancy from people living at different ends of the Metro? Are we investing into the right components of the health and social care system to address inequalities, if we know that healthcare is only 20% of the story, and population health the other 80% (homes, jobs and friends)?

The talk explored what is possible when partners pull together capabilities and assets at scale – not a trivial exercise to create a mass NHS lab in five months, with 700 jobs and two million tests! What was fascinating is how the analytics provides context to the information already there; changes of COVID incidence and age variation in different parts of the region during each phase; how we develop appropriate strategies to target different groups for vaccination; how sophistication in hospitalisation has improved and how we are building intelligence for the future when community water testing for COVID and other diseases.

So, what does the future hold? Will we see another peak of COVID incidence when schools return in September and what about the demand for elective care?

You can watch the full Lightning Talk below:

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