Just before the Easter break NHS England announced £35m funding for seven mental health Trusts as part of its on-going plans to help leading healthcare teams pioneer the use of digital then share breakthroughs as best practice for the rest of the health service.
A total of £70m will be available to invest in digital services – £35m from government and an additional £35m match funding from the bodies involved.
The project means, NHS England says, “for the first time” all key professionals involved in a patient’s care will get online access to real-time records – from triage and initial assessment through to admissions or referrals, as well as transfer between services and follow up care.
The successful organisations are:
- Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
- Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
The trusts chosen will also work to develop remote, mobile and assistive technologies to empower patients to manage their conditions and enable family and carers to provide the best possible support, says the organisation.
The result will be a new set of ‘Global Digital Exemplars for Mental Health’, claims NHS England, with the seven set to become world-leading in the use of IT, providing knowledge and expertise to the wider NHS in order to reduce time and costs for others.
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Examples of such work from the Trusts selected include:
- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is developing an app with Stanford University to anticipate and respond to serious self-harm and suicide risks
- Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has moved from multiple patient record systems to one system across the organisation, with mobile access to the patient record system set to come to help staff in the community to access and update a patient’s records
- Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust is looking to deliver digital patient services including online consultations and enabling patients to access their records, complete assessments and provide feedback on-line
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will be working in partnership with the University of Oxford to develop an online platform for people experiencing a range of conditions (including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety) to receive tried-and-tested psychological therapies on their computer or mobile phone.
Nicola Blackwood, Minister for Public Health and Innovation, said, “In the age of the smartphone, excellent use of information and technology is fundamental to the transformation of the health and care system.
“The Global Digital Exemplars will be truly world class in supporting high quality care with digital technology, providing a blueprint for excellence, not only to the NHS, but across the world.
“I’m particularly pleased we have secured funding for seven mental health exemplars, who will be leading the way in providing high quality support and pushing the boundaries of mental health care.”
Alongside the seven mental health Global Digital Exemplars, a further 4 acute Global Digital Exemplars have been confirmed by NHS England:
- Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust with Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.