A delegation from China visited the Sheffield City Region on Wednesday 14 November as a fact-finding mission, to discover more about healthcare technologies.
The focus of the visit was to understand how the NHS deals with the demands placed upon it, and to learn from the cutting-edge healthcare technologies here in South Yorkshire.
During the day, the delegation from Ningxia visited Rotherham Hospital and heard from speakers including Richard Stubbs, Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) board member and Chief Executive Officer at Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network; Dr Richard Cullen, Chair of NHS Rotherham CCG and local GP, and Professor Alison Metcalfe, pro-vice chancellor at Sheffield Hallam University.
Mr Stubbs said: “It was a great pleasure to meet with the delegation, and to explain how the NHS works in the UK, as well as highlighting our region’s strengths in digital health innovation.
“The scales of the respective UK and Chinese health systems are very different but the challenges we face of an ageing population and increasing levels of long-term chronic diseases are the same. We have much to learn from each other.”
The five-strong delegation from Ningxia, in northern China, represented organisations including Ningxia Health and Family Planning Commission and Ningxia People’s Hospital.
Sheffield City Region is considered a world leader in creating innovative and real-world solutions for tackling health and wellbeing challenges, particularly due to industry collaborations with Sheffield Hallam University.
The University specialises in healthcare research and its practitioners, scientists, engineers and designers work in close partnership with businesses to create innovative solutions to global health issues.
Prof Metcalfe, pro-vice chancellor and dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University said: “Sheffield is the home of a new healthcare revolution of which Sheffield Hallam is at the forefront.
“Apart from providing outstanding healthcare solutions on a regional, national and international scale, our plans at the Health Innovation Park situated at the heart of the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, will co-locate research and innovation alongside education, health, leisure and business. It will be a model of urban development that will drive economic growth, health improvements and community wellbeing.”
While at Rotherham Hospital, the delegation spoke with representatives from the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Rotherham CCG and Rotherham Council.
In addition to a tour of the state-of-the-art Urgent and Emergency Care Centre, which opened in July 2017, discussions took place to understand how hospitals, community health and social care teams are working to manage increasing demand and ensure local people get the care they need.
There was also a focus on the Rotherham Health Record, a digital solution which has been introduced across the town to join-up various IT systems so that health and care workers can easily access the information they need, wherever they are.
Chris Holt, Deputy Chief Executive at the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There is a lot of really innovative work happening in Rotherham to overcome the challenges we are facing in the NHS and to transform the way health and social care is delivered.
“This visit was a great opportunity to share this and understand how this could be adopted to help tackle similar challenged in other health systems around the world.”
This visit from the Ningxia delegation comes after Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, led a Northern Powerhouse delegation to the 4th annual UK – China Regional Leaders Summit last month. More than 350 UK and Chinese regional government leaders and businesses attended the Summit in Dalian.
During his time in China, the Mayor met with key representatives from Chinese cities and regions, as well as with the British Ambassador to China, Dame Barbara Woodward.
Both Mr Stubbs and Prof Metcalfe accompanied the Mayor in the SCR delegation. This week’s visit from the Ningxia delegation is the next step in building positive trade relationships between Sheffield City Region and key Chinese provinces.