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From today, NHS organisations can bid for part of a £100m fund to buy innovative technology to support nurses, midwives and care staff with improving patient care.
The £100m ‘Nursing Technology Fund’ was announced by the Prime Minister in October last year. It will fund mobile and digital technology to allow nursing, midwifery and care staff to work more flexibly and effectively, helping them do their jobs better, increase patient safety, create a better patient experience and reduce paperwork.
In April this year, NHS England took on responsibility for ensuring that the funding achieves the best possible outcomes. It is a fundamental part of NHS England’s drive to help deliver an information revolution – essential to creating a modern, safe NHS where staff have the right tools and information to do their jobs more effectively.
Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:
“Demands on the NHS have changed dramatically over the years and it is vital that as a health service we change and modernise so our patients get the best possible care.
“Technology is a tool that if embraced and used in the right way, allows healthcare professionals to work differently and more effectively so they can focus on what they do best – providing compassionate, high quality care for patients.
“We can do things today that simply wouldn’t have been possible as little as twenty years ago. Digital pens can reduce the burden of paperwork and mobile technology such as tablets or notebooks can provide access to up to date information to enable community healthcare staff to deliver safe, effective care and spend more time with patients with all the relevant information to hand. Technology can make a real difference to front-line patient care.
“There are already many examples across the health service where technology is making a difference. This funding is a real opportunity to expand and build on this and provide nurses, midwives and care staff with the tools they need to deliver safer and better patient care.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“Nurses and midwives chose their profession because they wanted to spend time caring for patients, not filling out paperwork. New technology can make that happen. It’s better for patients too, who will get swifter information, safer care and more face-to-face time with NHS staff.”
The fund will have a particular focus on practical mobile and digital technologies which will help improve communication, allow staff to do their jobs more easily and lead to better experiences for patients.
NHS Trusts providing hospital, community, mental health and ambulance services can all apply for funding. Applications must demonstrate that funding will be used to buy technology that nursing staff and midwives will see the practical benefit of using and ultimately that will benefit patient care.
Availability of funds will be split £30m/£70m between projects which can be delivered in 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The deadline for first round applications is 15th January 2014 and funding decisions will be announced in February.
You can view more on the Nursing Technology Fund on the NHS England website.
Technology case study: Midwifery team at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust using digipens
The midwifery team at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust have been using digital pens since 2010 and the success of this has been recognised with many industry awards.
Digital pens capture written information which can then be transferred to an IT system without needing to ‘type-up’ the information or carry paper notes.
Midwives at Portsmouth have seen significant benefits in using digital pens including freeing up more time to care, efficient data capture and removing the risk of lost notes. This ultimately supports staff to deliver high quality patient care.
At Portsmouth, the end vision is a maternity pathway where all information is captured using digital pens and processed and displayed via a fully integrated maternity information system. The transition between community and hospital settings will be seamless, with the same data collection techniques and information available in all care settings.