29 January 2019
New development at Campus now closer
Plans for a custom-built facility on Inverness Campus promoting engagement between the health service, the academic sector and commercial partners took a step forward after the planning application for the centre was approved at the Highland Council planning meeting on 29 January.
The facility will contain a proposed NHS elective care centre, a University of the Highlands and Islands’ life sciences innovation centre and a new life science business incubator owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Deborah Jones, Director of Strategic Commissioning, Planning and Performance for NHS Highland, explained that the elective care wing of the building will help in meeting the predicted rising demand for a range of orthopaedic and ophthalmology procedures, providing extra capacity to ensure NHS waiting times are reduced and offering improved services and facilities.
She said: “This is an exciting step in the process of our ambition, along with our partners Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands, to have a centre of excellence that will benefit everyone in the North of Scotland and beyond.
“The clinical engagement we have already had on this project with clinicians taking ownership to redesign care and the pathways that deliver care has been excellent. We are all fully committed to creating an ethos of improvement, quality and safety.
“However this is not just about the building. This is a real opportunity for us to establish research and development aimed at maximising recruitment and retention as well as bringing commercial and statutory organisations to work together to redesign delivery.”
A key focus is to expand the range and scope of the commercial life sciences sector in the Highlands and Islands, providing the infrastructure and personnel to draw in new investment and create jobs.
Development areas will be linked to the regional economy, demography and geography including disease management and prevention, rural health, digital health, integrated health and social care and technology assisted living.
The project will create sustainable economic benefits to the North of Scotland, supported by the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal funding secured by University of the Highlands and Islands.
The UK Government is providing £9 million for the Centre as part of its £53m investment in the Inverness and Highlands City Region Deal. To date the UK Government has committed to more than £1.1 billion of City Region Deal investment across Scotland.
Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “The UK Government is investing in state-of-the-art research, innovation and skills across Scotland, and I am delighted that another important milestone has been reached in delivering for Inverness and the Highlands.
“This centre will bring together researchers, clinicians and industry – helping them to find new ways to support patients, while also developing services, products and companies that can help to grow the economy.”
Scottish Government Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “We welcome the news that the planning application for the North of Scotland Elective Centre was approved and we look forward to receiving the full business case.
“This development will build on the positive experiences and outcomes for healthcare, research, enterprise and employment from the Centre for Health Science on the Raigmore Hospital site. It will offer great benefit to the people of NHS Highland.
“The Scottish Government is supporting the Highlands region with £135 million investment in the Inverness and Highland city region deal. We have committed £1.275 billion to city deals across Scotland over the next 10-20 years.”