The MAGIC project has brought together experts across Europe dedicated to enabling a significant change in the delivery of health and care services to empower patients post-stroke. The consortium has recognised a significant gap in care associated with the recovery of such patients, and the need to find a new cost-effective solution. Demographic changes across Europe are such that health and social care systems are failing to keep pace with demand. Currently, a third of stroke patients are discharged from hospital with a significant change to lifestyle, wellbeing, health status and independence, but community health and care services are not adequately resourced to optimise recovery.

In the UK stroke is the fourth single largest cause of death. In Northern Ireland there are 2,700 strokes each year, and 35,000 stroke survivors living in the community. Limited staff resources, coupled with the geographical distances and rural population of Northern Ireland, place significant challenges on delivering the required standard of rehabilitation to enable survivors to live more independent lives and reduce long term formal and informal care. The use of self-management approaches presents an opportunity to improve patient care in a cost-effective way, but at present there is no technological solution to deploy to adequately address the problem. Pre-commercial procurement presents a means of stimulating the market to develop a solution.

groupThe MAGIC project consortium is being led and co-ordinated by the BSO. Other Northern Ireland participants are the Health and Social Care Board; the Public Health Agency; Invest NI; and the University of Ulster. Other member states involved in the consortium are Ireland; Italy; Finland; Spain; Luxembourg; and Denmark.

Under the terms of the Horizon 2020 call through which the MAGIC project was successful, the European Commission provides 70% of total project costs, with the remaining 30% to be provided by commissioning partners within the consortium. On this basis the project will receive €3.63m from the European Commission, with a further €1.56m provided by the commissioning partners within the consortium. The commissioning partners are drawn from two regions – Northern Ireland and Italy. The remaining partner regions will participate as observers, with a view to contributing to improvements in post-stroke care across Europe and proactively sharing knowledge about the pre-commercial procurement process.

The project will run for 52 months, concluding in September 2019, and will involve a three-phase pre-commercial procurement competition. In Phase 1 up to seven suppliers will be awarded funding for solution development; in Phase 2 up to four of these suppliers will receive funding for prototype development; and in Phase 3 up to three suppliers will be funded to implement and trial their solutions in Northern Ireland and Italy. The successful suppliers are likely to be SMEs and companies will have the opportunity to tender in the EU-wide procurement.