Richard Stubbs, CEO of Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber, has been appointed as the new Chair of the national Health Innovation Network.

This appointment coincides with the beginning of a new five-year licence agreement for the national Health Innovation Network and its 15 regional bodies across England (formerly known as AHSNs) working collaboratively, both nationally and locally, to deliver spread and adoption of innovative technologies and transformational improvements for the benefit of patients, citizens and the NHS. Dr Phil Jennings, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, the health innovation organisation for the North West Coast, will become Vice Chair of the Health Innovation Network, a role formerly held by Richard.

Richard, who also retains his role as Chief Executive of Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber, has a wealth of experience in helping to shape the future of the NHS and stimulate economic growth in regional, national and international roles. He is currently a member of the NHS Assembly, an advisor to Healthcare UK, and created the Innovate Awards in 2022 which recognises health innovators across the NHS and industry. A vocal proponent of tackling health inequalities, some of his recent work has included the importance of diversity within health innovation and the potential to create better population health outcomes by levelling up regional economic growth.

Since 2018, Health Innovation Network's national initiatives have positively impacted over 2.3 million patients. Moreover, their support for innovators has not only contributed over £1.8 billion to UK PLC, but also created or safeguarded more than 6,600 jobs. This remarkable effort has generated an impressive return on investment, with almost £3 gained for every pound invested.

In his new role, Richard will have oversight of this work nationally, across all 15 health innovation networks. This will provide him with an ideal platform to represent and act on behalf of Yorkshire and the Humber at the highest levels of government and the NHS. It will also give him the opportunity to raise the profile of the excellent work and array of life science assets that is already present in the region.

Throughout this new license period, Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber will continue to be a driving force in the uptake of health innovation across the region, enabling patients to benefit from earlier diagnosis, more effective treatments, and faster recovery.

The organisation will also continue to champion the life sciences sector in the region and support health innovators in developing solutions that meet the needs of the local health and care systems.

Richard said: “This is a critical and challenging time for the NHS and innovation has a role to play in helping us to deliver services effectively, safely and efficiently, freeing up more clinical time for patient care. World class innovation can be found in all corners of the NHS, but too often the best ideas have not been spread elsewhere. This adoption challenge is a collaborative endeavour that requires partners from across the innovation ecosystem, harnessing the full capabilities of new technology and the life sciences industry, to deliver tangible and sustainable improvements for all patients.

“As a Network we have learnt an incredible amount the past ten years about what makes health innovation work, and the conditions for success we need to ensure are in place to allow for spread and adoption of new ideas. I look forward to putting this learning into practice alongside colleagues and partners, to help the NHS tackle some of its biggest challenges.”

Rob Webster CBE, CEO for NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board and CEO Lead for West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership said:

“Innovation is of critical importance to both the health and care system and our economy in West Yorkshire. We need to test and adopt innovation that better meets the needs of local people. Our collaboration with Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber has already demonstrated how we can do this, and I look forward to working with them throughout this next license period.

“Congratulations to Richard in his new role as Chair of the Health Innovation Network. He has been a positive force for the region for a number of years, with programmes like Yorkshire Health for Growth. As Chair of the national network, he will be able to bring benefits to West Yorkshire and share our best practice in enabling people to access innovation quicker to support a long and healthy life.”

Gavin Boyle, CEO NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board said: “On behalf of South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board, I'd like to congratulate Richard on his appointment as Chair of the national Health Innovation Network.

“We look forward to our continued close partnership with Health Innovation Yorkshire and Humber, working through our own South Yorkshire Innovation Hub during the new license period. Our partnership will continue to harness creativity, innovation and ingenuity to help us meet our bold ambitions to improve the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

Dr Nigel Wells, Executive Director, Clinical and Care Professional NHS Humber & North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership said: “Humber and North Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership collaborates closely with Health Innovation Yorkshire & Humber on a broad range of innovation projects.

“We welcome the announcement that Richard Stubbs will be continuing his role as Chief Executive as well as taking up this important role as Chair, which will bring further benefit to our region. As we move into this new licence period, we will continue to collaborate on new innovations that will make a difference to health and care across our population.”