NHS@75: Innovation vital to serve the next generation

The NHS has been at the forefront of transformative advancements since its inception 75 years ago. Innovation is the driving force behind addressing some of the NHS’s biggest challenges, such as improving patient outcomes, cutting waiting times, driving economic growth and meeting the needs of each successive generation.

As HealthTech innovators, we rely on your ideas to ensure the future of the NHS – the health of the next generation depends on it.

World firsts

Since 1948, the NHS has embraced cutting-edge technologies that have revolutionised healthcare and has delivered many world firsts in medical advancements. In 1987 it performed the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant, in 1978 it was responsible for the birth of the world’s first ‘test-tube baby’ – the result of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), and during its seven decades, it has delivered many first-of-its-kind large-scale vaccination programmes[i] - including the successful rollout of the Coronavirus Covid-19 vaccination.

The NHS embraced digital technology during the Covid-19 pandemic; remote monitoring and virtual triage systems helped support social distancing, reduced unnecessary hospital attendances and enabled earlier discharge for people recovering from Covid-19 at a time when hospitals were overwhelmed. Artificial intelligence algorithms supported the NHS with decision making by forecasting Covid-19 cases.

It's partly thanks to our community of HealthTech innovators – from individuals incubating lightbulb moments to large enterprises helping to solve some the NHS’s biggest problems – that the NHS has delivered so many world firsts. It’s essential that we maintain the momentum within our industry to deliver world-class healthcare to futureproof the NHS.


Innovation in healthcare goes beyond medical advancements and it thrives through collaboration. The NHS plays an important role in building relationships with innovators, academics, HealthTech companies, startups and government bodies, to establish innovation hubs and accelerators across the country, encouraging the development and adoption of innovative healthcare solutions.

These collaborations have created a fertile ground for nurturing new ideas and harnessing expertise to address some of the healthcare system’s biggest challenges. By fostering an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration, the NHS is central to driving transformative change in healthcare.

However, the NHS is a large and complex system, and we know from our members that introducing new technologies for adoption can be challenging. Not only are you required to demonstrate the value proposition of your technology or product, but you also need to supply evidence and navigate complex regulatory and procurement processes.

NHS Innovation Service

The Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) hosted by NHS England, manages the NHS Innovation Service, which acts as matchmaker for industry and healthcare innovators, as well as providing up to date information and advice on how to get innovations adopted by the NHS.

Launched in 2022, the service is a collective of organisations that provide support for healthcare innovators from idea to adoption. The service matches innovators needs to relevant support organisations, to provide information and advice at every stage of their journey.

Since its launch it has supported 300 innovators and fostered a number of partnerships.

The next 75 years

A commitment by the NHS to innovate will transform healthcare delivery, benefiting patients, clinicians, and the entire healthcare system. By embracing digital technology, fostering collaboration and investing in research and development the NHS can be at the forefront of healthcare innovation. Innovators are central to this vision to safeguard the NHS for future generations.

For more information on the NHS Innovation Service, visit innovation.nhs.uk

For more information about ABHI, visit abhi.org.uk

[i] https://www.england.nhs.uk/nhsbirthday/about-the-nhs-birthday/#:~:text=From%20Britain's%20first%20kidney%20transplant,tube%20baby%20born%20in%201978.

Headshot of Luella Trickett

Luella Trickett, Director of Value & Access, ABHI

Luella Trickett is the Director of Value and Access at the Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI). Known as the voice of the industry, ABHI is the leading association for HealthTech representing leading multinationals through to small and medium sized enterprises.

Published at July 17, 2023