NHS launches £2.5 million innovation fund

NHS organisations have until the end of this month to bid for a chunk of a ‘Regional Innovation Fund’ worth £2.5 million.

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NHS organisations have until the end of this month to bid for a chunk of a ‘Regional Innovation Fund’ worth £2.5 million.

The fund hopes to support current innovations promoted within NHS England and the development of new ideas and is part of wider efforts to improve quality and efficiency in the health service, according to NHS England.

The NHS is particularly keen to receive bids within the six ‘high impact’ areas of priority where it believes aspects of technology and service improvement can significantly improve patient care. It has said that these should be implemented by March 2015.

The priority areas include increasing the use of telehealth and telecare technologies, reducing ‘inappropriate’ face-to-face contact and ensuring that the NHS exploits the value of commercial intellectual property.

The fund is open to NHS organisations including NHS England, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs).

Bids can be submitted alone or in partnership with local government, providers, the third sector or private healthcare. Bidding organisations have until 30 May to apply for funding.

Awards will be made in July 2014 and any funding allocated has to be spent by the end of March 2015.

Last year’s awards have helped to support the provision of digital solutions for mental healthcare services, for example one-to-one counselling delivered via audio, video or live chat.

Another winning bidder worked to develop an electronic tool for assessing a frail older person’s medical conditions and sharing that data across care providers.