Deploy case studies

As innovations develop into real world solutions and services, our role moves to identifying and supporting those with the greatest potential to improve health and care across the West of England and beyond.

Our focus is on selecting innovations and innovative practice with a proven clinical evidence base to spread more widely across our local systems.

We act as a facilitator or guide in encouraging adoption and spread, using quality improvement approaches to continue testing, learning, adapting and refining.

Here are some case studies exploring our work at the ‘Deploy’ phase of our innovation pipeline from 2023-24.

Polypharmacy: getting the balance right

In England, NHS primary care dispenses more than a billion prescription items every year. As more people live longer with multiple long-term health conditions, the number of medicines they take often increases.

Whilst medicines of course bring many benefits, we also recognise that this can create a significant burden for people trying to manage multiple medicine regimes and, in some cases, it can cause harm. We refer to this as problematic polypharmacy.

Problematic polypharmacy adds a cost to the healthcare system and diminishes quality care for patients. Much of this is preventable.

On behalf of the Health Innovation Network, we have led the national Polypharmacy Programme since 2022 to help address these issues.

We have set up communities of practice across England, attended by over 2,500 stakeholders. These support local systems to showcase good practice and work together collaboratively to share ideas on how to address problematic polypharmacy locally.

The programme focuses on three ‘pillars’ to drive change at a national and local level.

Pillar one – population health management
1,247 health and care professionals have attended our popular webinar series for support in using data from the NHSBSA Polypharmacy Prescribing Comparators to understand risks and identify and priorities patients for structured medication reviews.

Pillar two – education and learning
We have delivered 24 national Action Learning Sets with 928 GPs and pharmacists. These are an evidenced-based education approach to upskilling primary care professionals, using a structured method to enable small groups to explore complicated issues around problematic polypharmacy by meeting regularly and working collectively.

We have trained 33 polypharmacy educators through our train-the-trainer model, who have since delivered bespoke polypharmacy education locally to 1,175 GPs, pharmacists and other health professionals. In the West of England we have designed and delivered our own bespoke Action Learning Set and masterclasses around local priority areas.

Pillar three – changing public behaviour
In September 2023, we launched a range of evidenced-based resources in a number of community languages to support and help prepare people invited for a structured medication review (SMR) with their GP, pharmacist or other healthcare professional. We collaborated with a range of academic, clinician and patient innovators to develop the resources, combined with a phased user testing approach.

Packaged to support easy adoption, the resources include implementation guidance for GP practices, a patient SMR invitation letter, example questions and leaflets encouraging patients to think about their medicines and raise concerns with their health professional. They are available in print, digital and read-aloud formats.

In November 2023, GPs, pharmacists and geriatricians from across the country, gathered at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in London to celebrate the achievements of the Polypharmacy Action Learning Sets. Here we launched the Health Innovation Network’s ‘state of the nation’ report, showcasing the impact and learning from our Action Learning Sets and providing recommendations for continued change.

Find out more at

As a GP partner with a significant number of elderly and vulnerable patients under my care, I found the Action Learning Set invaluable for building confidence in working with patients to tackle polypharmacy.

GP Winchester

Innovate Healthier Together

In October 2023, we launched the exciting new Innovate Healthier Together programme, working in partnership with Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) Integrated Care Board (ICB).

This 12-month programme aims to understand the opportunities and barriers to accelerating the adoption and spread of innovation across Healthier Together – the local integrated care system (ICS).

We have partnered with NIHR ARC West to carry out baseline research with leaders from across the ICS landscape on attitudes to innovation and we will use this intelligence to inform leadership engagement sessions.

Through our Academy, we have designed the accredited Innovate Healthier Together development programme to resource ICS colleagues with techniques and tools to support innovative and creative thinking.

We are working with experts to understand how procurement practices can facilitate the introduction of innovations into health and care.

In collaboration with a range of ICS groups, we are exploring how we can accelerate innovation into practice. One example is facilitating the multi-disciplinary Living Well with COPD project team, and we are also leading design-thinking and innovative idea creation sessions across locality partnership groups working directly with communities, as well as ICS-wide groups and those focussed on clinical pathways.

The local insights gained from this work will be translated into a playbook, sharing the known or recommended key ingredients to being a pioneering innovative health and care system.

We are also creating the Innovate Healthier Together Fellowship, a new community of innovation pioneers and change-makers from across BNSSG. The aim of the Fellowship is to provide a space to come together, build a community, share knowledge and learn from one another in how to ensure innovations are adopted and spread successfully, with the ultimate aim of co-designing a Healthier Together Innovation Charter.

Find out more on the Healthier Together website.


It is our vision to increase the uptake of innovation and innovative ways of working across health and care services. By growing a well-networked community of enthusiasts who bring fresh thinking and new ways of doing things, our latest programme will accelerate innovation into services that positively impact the health of our population and beyond.

Steve West Chair of Health Innovation West of England and Vice-Chancellor of UWE

PERIPrem: Perinatal Excellence to Reduce Injury in Preterm birth

Launched by Health Innovation West of England and Health Innovation South West in April 2020, PERIPrem (Perinatal Excellence to Reduce Injury in Premature Birth) is a unique perinatal care bundle of 11 interventions that demonstrate a significant impact on brain injury and mortality rates amongst babies born prematurely.

Babies born prematurely are at risk of lifelong brain damage, disorders and death. Brain injury caused by prematurity is the single biggest cause of cerebral palsy, and prematurity is the biggest cause of infant mortality in England.

PERIPrem also forges new ways of working, where clinicians from obstetrics, midwifery and neonatal join to drive forward and revolutionise care for preterm babies.

We have implemented the full care bundle across all 12 hospital trusts in the South West of England. To date, at least 2,749 premature babies have been cared for in the region using the PERIPrem bundle.

We have supported the spread of the programme into Wales through PERIPrem Cymru, and to Health Innovation Networks in West Midlands and East Midlands. PERIPrem offers an enhanced level of support to areas where there is high deprivation and high infant mortality, enabling a targeted approach to tackling health inequalities.

The evidence base for the bundle elements shows a potential improvement in brain injury and mortality by 50%. The South West has demonstrated a reduction in preterm mortality and brain injury following implementation of PERIPrem (Luyt, 2024). A mixed methods evaluation demonstrated significant improvement in adherence to the complete care bundle and improvements in perinatal team function and situational awareness.

In February 2024, Dr Sarah Bates, the programme’s Operational Clinical Lead and Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist at Great Western Hospital in Swindon, was invited to give evidence to the House of Lords Preterm Birth Committee on the impact of PERIPrem. The Committee was appointed by the Government in January to consider the prevention and consequences of preterm birth in England.

Find out more at

CVD and lipid management

During 2023/24, we have supported several important initiatives to help prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) for people with high cholesterol.

We run regular lipid management educational webinars for colleagues across the West of England and offer additional support for the targeting and appropriate optimal treatment of patients with high cholesterol.

We have worked with primary care settings to increase their use of NICE-approved lipid management medicines, such as Inclisiran.

Across the West of England all primary care networks (PCNs) are now prescribing Inclisiran to eligible patients, with both Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW) and Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) exceeding their prescribing trajectories. In addition, there has been a 77% uptake of high intensity statins as a proportion of all statins being prescribed in the West of England, which is on track
to meet NHS England’s national ambition of 80% by 2026.

We are running a project within BNSSG to support the implementation of the UCLP Proactive Care Frameworks in primary care with a focus on lipid optimisation for high-risk patients. This project has been funded as part of the Collaborative Lipid Fund, which is part of a wider national programme of work around secondary prevention lipid optimisation, supporting patients who have already had a cardiac event.

Five PCNs and associated practices have been identified as having a treatment gap for cholesterol management, combined with high levels of local deprivation, and are now receiving enhanced support from Health Innovation West of England. This includes a funding allocation to support knowledge development, patient management, and optimisation of the NICE lipid management pathways.

The project will be evaluated in December 2024 and will explore the impact of this approach on sustainable lipid optimisation.

We have also supported the national Child Parent Screening pilot to recruit local primary care practices to undertake screening to identify children with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). 15 practices across the West of England are now actively screening patients. The West of England ranks number one across all Health Innovation Networks, with over 500 patients screened to date.

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Reducing harm from opioids

As part of NHS England’s Medicines Safety Improvement Programme, we are working with local systems to improve the care of people living with non-cancer chronic pain by reducing the prescribing of high-risk opioids.

In 2023-24 we helped to achieve a continued reduction in prescribing for patients on high dose opioids (over 120mg of morphine or the equivalent per day), as well as a reduction in prescribing for patients using opioids for more than four months. This was reflected in the data at ICB and regional level, as well as nationally overall.

Using the Live Well with Pain approach, we have trained 115 healthcare professions across the West of England, including pharmacists, GPs, social prescribers and wellbeing workers, who work with patients to help them manage chronic pain using a biopsychosocial approach.

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Reducing restrictive practice

As part of our local delivery of NHS England’s Mental Health Safety Improvement Programme, we focused on reducing restrictive practice in inpatient mental health, learning disabilities and autism wards.

We worked with two mental health trusts, Avon and Wiltshire Partnership and Gloucestershire Health and Care, to develop and test a range of change ideas with patients and experts by experience.

This has included reviewing and reducing unnecessary blanket restrictions in mental health wards, developing new discharge processes for patients with a learning disability, and using quality improvement approaches to improve inpatient experience.

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Back to Annual Report 2023-24