The Scottish health secretary has announced its ambition to seed a £10m telehealth fund to benefit 300,000 households over the next three years.

The national health and social care innovation fund, which was launched by health secretary Alex Neil at NHS Scotland’s annual conference, will be used to develop “original and pioneering” treatments for patients.

The fund will start with an initial £100,000, just one per cent of the £10m target.  It is hoped much this will act as a catalyst to help secure further funds from other sources. 

The new fund will be specifically targeted at supporting projects that turn innovative ideas into services, and will not be used for mainstream services or research already being funded.

Speaking on the launch of the fund, Neil said: “This dedicated fund is about giving those innovators the support they need to turn their excellent ideas into world-leading health services for the people of Scotland.

“Scotland is already leading the way on harvesting the innovations in our NHS. We have also made significant progress on developing and expanding new technologies fit for our twenty-first century healthcare service.”

EHI reported in April that NHS National Services Scotland has launched an innovation portal to encourage uptake and developments of innovative technology products.

 The innovation portal will focus on work with small and medium enterprises that have ideas and innovations and find out how to help develop these into technologies that may be of use to the NHS.

Neil said that innovations have the power to improve health and lives.

 “We stand on the brink of a revolution in health with new types of medicines, new health and communications technologies, and new thinking about how to make care suit the needs of every patient,” he said.

“The fund will help Scotland stays at the forefront of this. It has the ability to raise millions to drive forward innovation in Scotland’s NHS.”

The Golden Jubilee National Hospital in Glasgow will work on behalf of the Scottish NHS to raise money from a number of further sources for the fund.

Jill Young, chief executive at the hospital described Golden Jubilee as Scotland’s “flagship hospital” it is dedicated to leading research and innovation for the country.

“We are very excited about the possibilities and potential that the future holds as we move onto our next chapter as a national resource for the NHS in Scotland,” she said.

NHS Scotland said the fund is part of a wider programme to improve efficiency and quality in the NHS.