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Trio of ambulance trusts selected for £10m NHS England digital improvement scheme

NHS England announced this week that three ambulance trusts from different regions across the country have been chosen to take the lead in digital improvement as part of a £10m scheme.

The news comes as part of attempts from the national body to extend its Global Digital Exemplars (GDEs) programme from acute trusts to ambulance services.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS FT (SCAS), West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS FT (WMAS) and North East Ambulance Service NHS FT (NEAS) have all been selected because of their track record of digital delivery.

The scheme involves organisations which have successfully used digital services to improve their own operations (called exemplars) being asked to illustrate their decisions to other trusts in the hope that the overall quality will be advanced.

NHS England will provide the three trusts with £5m as part of the scheme, although they are expected to contribute the same amount over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Charles Porter, director of finance at SCAS, said the trust was “privileged” to have been recognised as a “successful technological innovator at the forefront of the digital arena.”

He added: “This recognition from NHS England will enable us to deliver further improvements in patient care, efficiency and integration within the local health system and the wider NHS.”

Following the announcement, Professor Jonathan Benger, national clinical director for urgent and emergency care at NHS England, said: “I am delighted this flagship digital transformation programme has been extended to ambulance trusts which are on the frontline of NHS care.

“Digital technology has the potential to transform ways of working and improve patient care in ambulance trusts, from ensuring paramedics can access a patient’s medical record to improving trust efficiency in systems behind the scenes.”

NHS England says the addition of the trusts onto the ambulance version of the GDE programme brings the total investment from NHS England in the scheme up to £280m.

“We have taken a different approach with the ambulance branch of the GDE programme and are today asking the three successful trusts to think of ways in which they can work together to drive improvements through the use of digital technology,” said Will Smart, chief information officer for health and care.

“By stepping up to become world class these three Trusts will join the most digitally advanced healthcare organisations across the globe and help deliver a sustainable and transformed NHS.”

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