South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority has recently announced the final £6 million of funding for a new centre in Sheffield which aims to develop an advanced and integrated healthcare system for children and young people.
The funding will form part of the total capital of £20m to start development of The National Centre for Child Health Technology (NCCHT), established by Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Research NCCHT will focus on addressing “key national child health priorities” including prevention and health inequalities, child and adolescent mental health, cancer, disabilities, obesity and long-term conditions.
It will aim to support healthy behaviours early in life to prevent adult disease; prevent children deaths; prevent complications arising from pre-term birth and childhood disease; reduce unnecessary hospital appointments and admissions to allow children with long-term conditions to go to school more often; support self-care and independence for children with disabilities; and detect mental health conditions in childhood to support early intervention.
The Centre is to “provide a truly immersive environment… providing rapid knowledge transfer for digital and technology development at scale”. Facilities will include a digital and telecommunications laboratory “to support rapid and real-time communications to manage patients in the community at home” and an artificial intelligence and digital centre “to support growth in large data management”.
It will be based in Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, set up following the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with the intention of delivering whole population improvements in health and wellbeing. The park combines expertise from academia, the NHS, sport and public and private sector organisations to create “a cluster of life sciences assets”, including research centres, educational facilities and laboratories to facilitate collaborative research and innovation in health and wellbeing.
Paul Dimitri, Director of Research and Innovation at Sheffield Children’s Hospital said: “We need to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and personalise healthcare for each of our children we look after, they are 25 percent of our population, and 100 percent of our future… The centre is set to create the most advanced technology to support the health and healthcare of children and young people, it’s about innovation and technology creating change.”
Ruth Brown, Chief Executive at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We know this Centre will bring enormous benefit to healthcare of children across the UK but also internationally. By bringing together clinicians, academics and industry to work with children and their families, we have a fantastic opportunity to lead this exciting work from Sheffield and provide healthier futures for children and young people across the world.”