Frequently asked questions

Does this mean that my organisation now has to pay for WMAHSN support?

No. WMAHSN launched its membership scheme on 1 June 2015. All NHS organisations, academic and educational institutions, other public bodies, third sector and industry and life sciences companies within the West Midlands were automatically enrolled as WMAHSN standard members. The standard membership scheme for all WMAHSN stakeholders is funded by NHS England and we plan for this no-cost scheme to continue throughout the span of our NHS England licence.

We also offer an enhanced membership scheme, with additional benefits, services and premium access to give organisations a leading edge, should they choose to do so.

What is the difference between standard and enhanced membership?

The benefits of standard membership of the WMAHSN include access to all WMAHSN expert networks, a suite of communications, including the monthly newsletter, website and news, articles and event alerts, opportunities to attend WMAHSN events, advertising opportunities and sponsorship and exhibition packages. These benefits will provide an opportunity for meetings, co-production and collaboration that both feeds and informs innovation and improvement to deliver improved healthcare outcomes and create economic growth across the West Midlands.

As well as all the benefits, features and networks of the standard membership, premium services for enhanced membership includes WMAHSN enhanced membership-only services, providing practical advice, support and a range of readymade tools to support providers, commissioners and researchers: the Innovation and Adoption Service, the Digital Innovation Service for Health and the Person-centred Care Service. Organisations in the enhanced membership scheme will also receive an enhanced communications package, including reduced sponsorship and advertising rates, joint PR opportunities and exhibition spaces.

For more on membership, read our membership brochure or our handy membership on a page

What does this mean for NHS organisations?

All NHS organisations in the West Midlands will continue to remain members of the WMAHSN standard scheme at no cost, and WMAHSN intends to continue to deliver this no cost standard membership scheme for its NHS members until the end of the NHS England licence period. However, NHS organisations are invited to join the enhanced membership scheme if they wish, in return for a small fee. The enhanced membership scheme offers an array of enhanced services, encompassing the Innovation and Adoption Service, the Digital Innovation Service for Health and the Person-centred Care Service, all offering practical advice and support, a range of readymade tools to support providers and commissioners, premium access to the Meridian online health innovation exchange, full access to the EIT Health KIC communities and funding sources, membership of MidTECH - the technology transfer office for the NHS in the West Midlands - and the medicines optimisation component, which is developing a regional approach to the uptake of NICE recommendations and the adoption of innovative medicines.

What does this mean for academic organisations?

All academic organisations in the West Midlands will continue to remain members of the WMAHSN standard scheme at no cost, and WMAHSN intends to continue to deliver this no cost standard membership scheme for its academic members until the end of the NHS England licence period. However, academic organisations are invited to join the enhanced membership scheme if they wish, in return for a small fee. The enhanced membership scheme offers an array of enhanced features, encompassing the Innovation and Adoption Service, the Digital Innovation Service for Health and the Person-centred Care Service, all offering practical advice and support, a range of readymade tools to support researchers, premium access to the Meridian online health innovation exchange and full access to the EIT Health KIC communities and funding sources.

What does this mean for private sector organisations?

All private sector healthcare and life sciences organisations in the West Midlands will continue to remain members of the WMAHSN standard scheme at no cost, and the membership of private sector organisations based outside the West Midlands is also welcomed. WMAHSN intends to continue to deliver this no cost standard membership scheme for its industry members until the end of the NHS England licence period. The membership scheme offers an array of benefits, including facilitated innovation and learning networks under the seven enabling themes, including access to the Wealth Creation Network's Commercial Hub, the Serendip digital health incubator, the Meridian online innovation exchange and the Industry Gateway, the latter of which allow industry members to propose innovative solutions to deliver on our four priority areas and which may need investment to spread at scale and pace across the region. Membership also offers routes to finance such as the WMAHSN’s SME Innovation Fundthe EIT Health KIC Head Start Fund and the EIT Health KIC Proof of Concept Fund, to support SMEs and encourage innovative start up businesses.

The WMAHSN is also currently developing a Corporate Partnership scheme for larger industry members. Those companies who feel their innovation, research and development strategies are best aligned with the WMAHSN’s priorities and enabling themes will be given the chance to be corporate partners and receive real time West Midlands’ market intelligence and knowledge, along with an opportunity to raise their companies profile through a series of jointly branded, much publicised events, meetings and publications.

How will members of the public be involved?

WMAHSN is committed to working and engaging with patients, carers and the public in a variety of ways. 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. Patients, carers and the public can become involved via lay representation on our networks, attending our 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 Meridian service?

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 ideas so that others can comment, suggest ways in which it may be improved and vote for innovations that are good for the region to support and worthy of further development. Alternatively, users can respond to campaigns, where there has been a specific healthcare need identified in the West Midlands which may be solved through an existing or new innovation. 

Meridian moderators, who are active in the innovation community in the West Midlands, will review the submissions to assess the innovation effectively and provide practical support for the development of the idea.

When an idea is submitted, Meridian will notify the user if similar innovations have been submitted, allowing people to partner with others in the community who have had similar insights. Once an innovation has been submitted, the user becomes the Innovation Champion for that idea and they can put the power of the community to work.

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 handy Meridian flyer