Agile Ageing Congress 2018

NHSA showcases North at Agile Ageing Congress 2018

Following on from a meeting between NHSA Chief of Staff Nicola Wilson with Founder of the Agile Ageing Alliance (AAA) Ian Spero, key experts in ageing from the North of England were invited to share expertise and approaches at the AAA’s 2018 Congress.

The partners across the North gave a ‘road map’ of how willingness for pan-regional collaboration in active and healthy ageing was converted into a tangible agreement to benefit its older population.

Joining Nicki at the AAA Congress were key opinion leaders and actors from across the North,

  • Dr Liz Mear, Chief Exec, The Innovation Agency (AHSN for the North West Coast)
  • Professor Michael Catt, Professor of Practice, Director, National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Newcastle University
  • Paul McGarry, Head of Greater Manchester Ageing Hub and Age Friendly Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority
  • Tony Cooke, Chief Officer for Health Partnerships, Leeds City Council and COO for Leeds Academic Health Partnership
  • Professor Mike Bewick, Managing Director, iQ4U
  • Graham Armitage, Deputy Director: Innovation and Partnerships, Institute for Ageing, Newcastle University

They worked together in a panel session to discuss the value of collaboration and to invite delegates at the congress to join forces to address the Ageing Society Grand Challenge.

The panel session, ‘Creating a Unified Ecosystem’, underlined that

  • Following the collective success of gaining the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) Reference Site awards in 2016, the four Academic Health Science Networks in the North of England formed a coalition of excellence.
  • By joining forces across the North, a population of c 16 million residents, they have provided a model that can be replicated at scale,
  • Their ambition was to adopt exemplar practices developed at local level at a greater scale.  ‘Active and Healthy Ageing North (AHA North)’ provides benefit not only for Northern England, but also other regions of the UK and overseas.
  • They are considered to be the first ‘super network’ of ageing excellence, with improving the health and wellbeing of the ageing population of the North, and also being exemplar for adoption at scale and pace further afield.
  • They provide a valuable opportunity, across a very large population, to work with a recognised pan-Northern ecosystem or with one or more of our four constituent parts.
  • They warmly welcomed collaboration and knowledge exchange so that they can support other ecosystems and accelerate progress for our residents by adopting exemplar practices being delivered in other parts of the UK and overseas.

Preparation for their panel provided valuable opportunity to reflect on the original purpose to working together as a region, putting aside historical competitiveness, and examine the secrets behind success.

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Exec of The Innovation Agency, observed that “By joining forces across the North, a population of c 16 million residents, we have provided a model that can be replicated at scale.  Following our collective success of gaining the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) Reference Site awards in 2016, the four Academic Health Science Networks in the North of England formed a coalition of excellence.  Our ambition was to adopt exemplar practices developed at local level at a greater scale.  ‘AHA North’ provides benefit not only for Northern England, but also other regions of the UK and overseas. We believe we are the first ‘super network’ of ageing excellence, with improving the health and wellbeing of the ageing population of the North, and also being exemplar for adoption at scale and pace further afield.

We provide a valuable opportunity, across a very large population, to work with a recognised pan-Northern ecosystem or with one or more of our four constituent parts. We warmly welcome collaboration and knowledge exchange so that we can support other ecosystems and accelerate progress for our residents by adopting exemplar practices being delivered in other parts of the UK and overseas.

Paul McGarry, Head of Greater Manchester Ageing Hub at Greater Manchester Combined Authority, when asked what key enablers to GM’s success in their ambition for age-friendly communities were being common-place in Manchester were, reflected

Our ongoing relationship with the three GM universities, having world-class institutions on our door step; plus working with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and having their seal of approval means that doors, outside of political arena, have opened and helped us build a wider narrative to ageing that included the role of communities and age-friendly living conditions. These are just two key factors to the success of Manchester’s programme.”

He went on “The OECD (2015) report “Ageing in Cities” was a game-changer, placing sub-regions and cities at the centre of developing their own policies, strategies and leadership models. In the UK we have created a national network of 20 cities with their associated local authorities and made local-level improvement easier to achieve without the support of national government. In 2016 we agreed a MoU with the Centre for Ageing Better whose objective is for older people to enjoy good quality-of-life through evidence-led approaches. We see great capacity across the city-region to create better places for older people to live and socialise and move the lens away from just a health focus.”

A full write up of the Agile Ageing Congress 2018 is available upon request from Nicola.Wilson@theNHSA.co.uk

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