New CEO ‘delighted’ to head Barking’s Care City

John Craig will take up the role of CEO at Care City, Barking, next Tuesday. Picture: INNOVATION UNI

John Craig will take up the role of CEO at Care City, Barking, next Tuesday. Picture: INNOVATION UNIT. - Credit: Archant

The new boss of a health innovation centre has vowed to “change the system” to transform treatment for the elderly.

John Craig will be Care City’s first CEO when he joins the team on Tuesday to head its mission to create tech-savvy solutions for an ageing population.

“I’m very excited, I’m really delighted to get the job and to be coming to Barking and Dagenham,” the 37-year-old told the Post.

The former policy advisor and researcher will manage £1.83m in NHS England funding and a 22-strong team from Maritime House in Barking, before a planned move to Axe Street in summer 2018.

“I’m really impressed with the way that the council and Care City has come together,” he said.

“There’s a big opportunity to do something for the people of Barking and Dagenham and more widely, for the NHS.”

Since the centre’s launch in January, it has nurtured nine tech innovators who are developing everything from a heart rate monitor to an app which can calculate the likelihood of an elderly person having a fall.

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There is no precise time frame for these gadgets to hit the market, but John hopes some will be used by the NHS within the next five years.

“The next step is to get innovations into the care system and the borough,” he explained.

“It’s about working to get it working, helping [the product] continue.

“It’s not just academic work or just testing it in Barking and Dagenham, it’s about making it the centre of excellence in the way we work.”

John’s second remit will be to explore Barking Riverside’s status as an NHS healthy new town.

“It’s early days in terms of understanding what a healthy new town is,” admitted the dad-of-one.

“You are looking at the things that make a community more liveable, for example for a 90-year-old.”

As well as helping develop ways to cope with an older population, John also wants to consider how carers can be treated better.

“One in ten people in Barking and Dagenham is a carer and provides someone with unpaid care each week,” he said.

“We need to do a better job and look at things like building up resilience among carers.”

Of his new role, he added: “This is the only test bed in London, it’s a great opportunity for Barking and Dagenham.

“It’s a place where people live and stay for a long time.

“It’s about looking at how we harness that support in the borough alongside professional health care.

“We are going to change the system.”