[England, UK] - NHS organisations are being encouraged to bid for a special new £100m fund so they can buy innovative technology to help better support nurses, midwives and care staff.
The so-called ‘Nursing Technology Fund,′ announced by the Prime Minister in October 2012 but which is now finally open, is part of a push from the top of government to see much greater use of mobile and digital technology in healthcare.
Nursing, midwifery and care staff will source technology to see if it can help them work more flexibly and effectively, says NHS England, which adds the new tech should also help them do their jobs better – as well as increase patient safety, create a better patient experience and reduce paperwork.
“Nurses and midwives chose their profession because they wanted to spend time caring for patients - not filling out paperwork,” claimed Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
“New technology can make that happen. It′s better for patients too, who will get swifter information, safer care and more face-to-face time with NHS staff.”
NHS England claims an information revolution is essential to creating a modern, safe NHS where staff have the right tools and information to do their jobs more effectively.
For Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, “Technology is a tool that, if embraced and used in the right way, allows healthcare professionals to work differently and more effectively so they can focus on what they do best – providing compassionate, high quality care for patients.
“This funding is a real opportunity to expand and build on this and provide nurses, midwives and care staff with the tools they need to deliver safer and better patient care,” she added.
“Technology can make a real difference to front-line patient care.”
‘Focus on practical′
Examples of what nurses might look to do with the money, she believes, include greater use of digital pens that could reduce the burden of paperwork - and mobile technology that will provide access to up to date information to enable community healthcare staff to deliver safe, effective care and spend more time with patients with all the relevant information to hand.
The fund will have a particular focus on practical mobile and digital technologies that will help improve communication, allow staff to do their jobs more easily and lead to better experiences for patients.
NHS Trusts providing hospital, community, mental health and ambulance services can all apply for funding, says NHS England.
Any applications, however, must demonstrate that funding will be used to buy technology that nursing staff and midwives will see deliver practical benefits.
The money will be split £30m/£70m between projects that can be delivered in 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The deadline for first round applications is 15th January 2014, with all funding decisions set to be announced in February. [GF]
Please visit the Nursing Technology Fund main website for more information.