Frequently asked questions

How do I become a member?

Everyone is already a standard member, so simply email your details to info@wmahsn.org and we will add you to our mailing list.  For further information on becoming a premium member, please contact Farana Akhtar, Membership Co-ordinator, on 0121 371 8053 or email membership@wmahsn.org.

Is there a charge for becoming a member?

The WMAHSN standard membership scheme is offered at no cost, as it is subsidised by NHS England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement (NHSI) for 2017/2018. However, this may change in the future.

There is a fee for premium membership:

  • Large NHS trust or Commissioning Support Unit - £35,000
  • Small NHS trust - £10,000

What is the difference between standard and premium membership?

The benefits of standard membership of the WMAHSN include access to networks, support programmes relating to our priorities.

The premium membership scheme incorporates the standard membership offers plus array of premium services, encompassing the following:

Premium members will also receive an enhanced communications package, including reduced sponsorship and advertising rates, joint PR opportunities and exhibition spaces at WMAHSN events.

How is WMAHSN involved in STPs?

In December 2015, NHS England outlined a new approach to help ensure that health and care services are built around the needs of local populations. To do this, every health and care system in England will produce a Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), showing how local services will evolve and become sustainable over the next five years – ultimately delivering the Five Year Forward View vision of better health, better patient care and improved NHS efficiency. In order to deliver the STP for local populations, WMAHSN is offering a support package to local footprints to help reduce costs and increase income, deliver better and safer services and match solutions to needs.

Do you have access to funding for health care providers? 

While WMAHSN is not a funder per se, it can signpost members to suitable sources including: 

  • EIT Health – WMAHSN is a core partner in EIT Health on behalf of its members in the West Midlands, which enables access to some funding for education, innovation and business acceleration activities. There are numerous schemes and most require international collaborations so please contact paddie.murphy@wmahsn.org or karen.morrey@wmahsn.org to find out about eligibility.
  • With an understanding of the latest funding opportunities, be they regional, national or European, external or controlled by WMAHSN, the Industry Innovation Gateway can help to identify and signpost you to potential funding opportunities to enable the further development and commercialisation of your innovation e.g. Small Business research innovative (SBRI)

How will members of the public be involved?

Ensuring that people’s views are heard at all levels and across all parts of the healthcare system is essential for creating and delivering better health and care services in the West Midlands. WMAHSN is committed to working and engaging with patients, carers and the public in a variety of ways. Patients, carers and the public can become involved via our Person-centred Care Network, attending our events to ensure that people’s voices are at the heart of transforming healthcare services, taking part in surveys and consultations, signing up to our newsletter, interacting via social media or contacting us directly with views and feedback.

How do I access the Industry Innovation Gateway?

The Industry Innovation Gateway acts as a single point of entry for all commercial and industrial enquiries from health technology and life science businesses wishing to engage with the WMAHSN. You can access the Industry Innovation Gateway via telephone, email or face-to-face.

How do I access the Meridian health innovation exchange?

Registration is free and simple. Go to https://meridian.wmahsn.org and click on the Log in/Register button on the top right. Follow the prompts to register.

Users can submit their innovations to individual campaigns where a specific challenge has been identified or alternatively they can submit their innovation to push the opportunity to the healthcare sector.  This will enable other users to comment, provide feedback and also vote for innovations that they feel merit further support.

If you have an innovative product or service available that has significant potential to benefit both patients and the health services, contact the Industry Innovation Gateway for guidance or assistance with your Meridian innovation submission.

When thinking of sharing an idea, invention or innovation it is important that you have given proper consideration to the intellectual property (IP) in which is to be disclosed.  There are different forms of IP protection that relate to different kinds of ideas and inventions.  Before you share an idea, it is important to know what IP rights might apply to what you wish to disclose and ensure that they are protected in some way before you do so, even if this is just through an initial non-disclosure agreement (NDA). If you do not then you may lose the ability to protect it at a later date and be seen to have given the idea away, making it difficult to maintain ownership and control of it and generate any money from it.

If you would like any support in this area, contact MidTECH, the NHS Innovation Hub for the West Midlands, which can help and advice on what IP may be applicable to your idea or what you have created and what needs to be done to get you in to a position where it is protected, or at least safe to share with others.

How can WMAHSN help me to access industry?

The health service can face significant challenges when developing and commercialising new and innovative products and services.  The Industry Innovation Gateway provides tailored business advice, sector knowledge and a qualified network, increasing the likelihood of a productive outcome.

The Gateway can help you to identify and engage with potential commercial partners relevant to the ideas and innovations coming out of the NHS, helping to establish new collaborations. From developing an idea to commercialisation and every stage in between, the Gateway can advise and signpost you to funding opportunities and professionals who can help you to take your innovation to market.

How can I build an evidence base?

West Midlands-based NHS organisations, universities and industry conduct clinical research of global significance. WMAHSN works closely regional partners including the National Institution for Healthcare Research Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN) West Midlands, providing the infrastructure that allows high-quality clinical research to take place in the NHS. To find out more about conducting clinical trials, collecting evidence and arranging evaluations, contact the Industry Innovation Gateway.

How can I share my story of how my innovation has been adopted in the NHS?

Meridian provides a platform to share work that has already been successful, the Innovation Warehouse. Innovator points are awarded for activity such as submitting innovations, commenting on others’ innovations, voting, receiving votes and submitting stories into the Innovation Warehouse. As users accrue points, they attain a higher innovator status as an indicator of their activity in the community and their entrepreneurial insights.

You can find out more in the guide to getting started with Meridian, or take a look at the summary Meridian flyer