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A&E departments to benefit from £4.3m innovation tech funding

NHS England has backed a £4.3m investment on five new technologies that may help ease pressure on A&E departments.

The organisation has said that each of the five innovations, which could reduce A&E admissions through the likes of wireless monitoring, self-help apps and point of care diagnostic testing, will receive up to £1m in financial backing so that they can be taken to the next stage of development.

The money will be donated by SBRI Healthcare, the NHS England initiative led by the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) which co-develops innovations to improve healthcare.

Richard Phillips, chair of SBRI Board and director of the Association of British Healthcare Industries, said: “As demands and pressure on the urgent and emergency care system increase, we need to find new ways to bring high value innovation into the NHS.

“The announcement will bring new and creative solutions into this space that will improve care for patients and efficiency for the NHS.”

The five companies selected by SBRI were drawn from a shortlist of 14 companies which received six months’ ‘feasibility funding’ in March last year.

The companies will be supported and fully funded to continue with the development and testing of their products in the hopes that they will eventually benefit the NHS.

The successful companies (and supporting AHSNs) are:

  • Preventing & Reducing Admissions: Healthera (Eastern AHSN) and Microbiosensor (Greater Manchester AHSN)
  • Coordinating & Managing Resources: Biovici (Wales)
  • Planning for Flow & Discharge: 365Response (Yorkshire & Humber AHSN) and snap40 (Scotland)

Sarah Fatchett, founder of 365 Response, praised SBRI Healthcare’s support to small and medium sized enterprises to develop ideas from prototypes and into the health service.

“We have created new product, delivered real value, employed local people and generally grown – not just in people but in skills, confidence and delivery,” Fatchett said.

The news will come as a relief to A&E departments as they face intense pressures over the winter period, with a third of England’s hospital trusts warning that overcrowding was beginning to affect patient care in December.

Dr Liz Mear, chair of the AHSN Network, said: “A&E waiting times have been increasing over time with recent figures showing more than one in ten patients are waiting at least four hours for a hospital bed after emergency admission, a near five-fold increase since 2010-11.”

“The causes of the problems in A&E, and the solutions to address them, are complex and to a great extent dependent on processes and capacity in other hospital departments, as well as other parts of the health and care system.”

SBRI has invested £57m since 2012 in over 150 companies to develop products focused on resolving areas of need in the NHS. The programme has had an economic impact of over £33m and aims to help the NHS to reach its £1bn savings target.


Dr. N V White   18/01/2017 at 16:52

The NHS needs more beds, more doctors, more nurses, more midwives, more physiotherapists and support staff. It needs more effective social care. It needs more scanners. Spending money on advisers deprives every other sector of patient care.

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