The UK government has pledged £133m to healthcare innovation funding, which will help boost the country’s innovations in medical imaging and artificial intelligence (AI), among other areas.
The funding is intended to improve treatment, diagnosis and care for life-limiting conditions such as cancer, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
NHS diagnostic services and existing Centres of Excellence in digital pathology and imaging with AI – based in London, Leeds, Oxford and Coventry – will receive £50m of the money. These centres were established by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) in 2018 to bring together the NHS, industry and academics to work together on digital technology projects to improve the early diagnosis of disease.
UKRI will allocate the £50m through a competition run between the four centres. Bids for the money must demonstrate how the funding will be used to invest in digital infrastructure and equipment in partner NHS Trusts, and digitally link the trusts to the centres. This is intended to expand the geographic coverage of NHS trusts that can work with the centres.
Bioscience technology projects up and down the country will receive £14m, while adult social care will receive a new cash injection of £7.5m. A further £69.5m will be distributed through UKRI to the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator, the Advanced Pain Discovery Platform, the UK Centre of Evidence Implementation in Adult Social Care and into tackling multimorbidity.
These projects are expected to help the government meet the targets of its Ageing Society Grand Challenge, which aims to see people across the country achieve an extra five years of healthy and independent living by 2035 and narrow the health gap between rich and poor citizens.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’ve got to bring NHS technology into the 21st century. I’ve seen for myself how better technology and diagnosis can save clinicians’ time so they can concentrate on care.
“The NHS is now spearheading world-leading technologies that can transform and save lives through new treatments, diagnosis techniques and care. I’m determined that the benefits of these advances will improve the lives of thousands of patients whose conditions have long been considered life-limiting.”