A group of Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN) are calling for innovations to support the domiciliary workforce.

The West of England AHSN, South West AHSN and Health Education England are looking for solutions that are ready for adoption and spread in the health service.

Prior to the pandemic domiciliary social care providers were reporting a 46% staff turnover rate in the South West, with the pressures accentuated during Covid-19.

The call goes out to apps, digital toolkits, new systems and processes and other technology solutions to support the workforce.

Innovators can apply for a share of £100,000 to test their solution over 12 months in domiciliary care settings. They will also receive support locally from the AHSNs with the potential for regional and national scale-up.

Natasha Swinscoe, chief executive of the West of England AHSN, said: “This is such an important challenge. The demand for the provision of health and social care within people’s own homes has never been greater, but there are very high pressures on this workforce.

“We need innovative solutions to help solve and support some of the wide-ranging issues in this sector and I’m excited to see what could be out there.”

Nikki Taylor, programme manager at South West AHSN, added: “We’re looking forward to hearing from a variety of innovative organisations with ideas to improve the capacity, capability and wellbeing of the domiciliary care workforce.

“We’re casting the net wide to attract a range of products and service-based solutions; this could include innovations for managing staff rotas, transport and logistics, information and record sharing to training and career development, personal wellbeing such as mental health resources, gym memberships and peer-to-peer or employee support networks.

“We hope to be inspired by what’s out there now and excited by the potential for spreading innovation in this sector.”

Solutions can come from within the health and social care sector or from industry. It will need to provide a positive and measurable impact on the workforce including satisfaction levels, wellbeing, skills, diversity and inclusion.

Debi Reilly, South West regional director for Health Education England, said: “Having the right staff in place, with the right skills, is essential to ensure that domiciliary care services can operate effectively. It is demanding work, both physically and emotionally, and staff are often working remotely and in silo and under huge time pressures.”

Innovators have until midday on 31 May to apply. More information can be found on the West of England AHSN website.