Health Minister Matt Hancock has pledged funding for the NHS Digital Aspirants programme, saying it will go beyond the initial wave into mental health and community trusts.
He was speaking at the Digital Health Rewired conference, highlighting the priorities for the application of technology in the health service.
The Digital Aspirant programme was launched in February of last year to provide funding for NHS trusts to build their digital capabilities. The most recent figures from NHSX show that 59 have so far joined, with most receiving £250,000 to develop a strategy and business case while a few will receive up to £6 million to implement programmes.
Hancock said there will be further waves of funding focused on all parts of the NHS.
“It’s very important this is across all parts of the NHS and indeed social care, including mental health and community trusts, which can feel the benefits of digital transformation just as much as acute trusts,” he said.
“So we’ll keep driving this work across the whole of the health and care sector to make sure everyone has the digital capability they need, and lay down those strong foundations, that’ll put us in a good place for the future.”
Data architecture and interoperability
He also pointed to a priority of strengthening the data architecture for research in the health service and filling gaps in interoperability, especially for the links between health and social care. This is related to efforts to put shared care records in place throughout the service so that every local system has at least a basic record in place by September of this year.
Three further themes arose from his speech: the development of new digital pathways that transform underlying models of care; building solutions for the future, not just the present day; and making it easy for people to “do the right thing” such as complying with good information governance.