Health Minister opens NHS Wales Informatics Research Laboratories

Welsh Health and Social Services Minister Lesley Griffiths has visited Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science, to open the second phase of the NHS Wales Informatics Research Laboratories.

Focusing on evaluation, research and innovation, the Research Laboratories are jointly run by the NHS Wales Informatics Service and the Health Informatics Research Group from the University’s College of Medicine. The Research Laboratories support real patient benefits to the NHS in Wales and beyond through the delivery of innovation in healthcare IT, centred on the patient.

The facilities are designed to form an “NHS in a lab” – a safe, accessible research facility to study the patients’ journey through the NHS, by integrating new IT systems with existing systems in the NHS. 

The first phase of the Research Laboratories was opened in June 2008, and has helped improve the economy of Wales by creating a sustainable knowledge-based economy centred on the field of health informatics through its sister centre, eHealth Industries Innovation (ehi2) Centre.

During her visit to open the second phase of the development, the Minister was welcomed to the University by Vice-Chancellor Professor Richard B Davies and tour the Research Laboratories facilities.

The Minister heard overviews from Professor Gareth Morgan, Head of the College of Medicine, on research at the Institute of Life Science; David Ford, Director of Health Informatics at the College of Medicine; and Andrew Griffiths, Director and Chief Information Officer for Health of NHS Wales Informatics Service, on the future of the NHS Wales Informatics Research Laboratories.

The Minister said: “The labs have a multifunctional role. They test new technologies for NHS Wales and act as a hotbed for innovation, creating successful collaborations with local and national industry, and building a robust eHealth economy.

“Thanks to the Informing Healthcare Programme and the support it has received from the Labs, we have begun to change the landscape of healthcare technology and make it easier for our doctors and nurses to provide the best care to patients.

“This demonstrates how great successes can be achieved when health, academia, industry and government work together.”

Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Minister to open the expanded Research Laboratories, after their relocation to the phase two building of our Institute of Life Science.

“This event celebrates the achievement of the original facility – the first of its kind in Europe when it opened in 2008 – and marks the beginning of this exciting development’s next phase, providing the leading-edge facilities needed to support a growing, multi-project portfolio based on research and innovation.

“This will further strengthen the University’s partnerships with the NHS in Wales and with the industry, ensuring a sustainable knowledge-based economy centred on ehealth.”

Opening of ILS2 informatics research laboratories

Andrew Griffiths Director and Chief Information Officer for Health of NHS Wales Informatics Service,  Gwyn Thomas Chief Executive of NHS Wales Informatics Service, David Ford Director of NHS Wales Informatics Research Laboratories, Lesley Griffiths Minister for Health and Social Services, Professor Gareth Morgan Head of Swansea University's College of Medicine and Vice Chancellor of Swansea University, Professor Richard Davies.