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Digital Productivity and the NHS Unified Tech Fund

£4m from the £680m Unified Tech Fund has been earmarked for Digital Productivity improvements, and NHS England organisations only have until 30th November 2021 to apply

What is the Unified Tech Fund?

It’s well known that funding for technology within the NHS is too complicated and complex; often with short notice being given as to what’s available, what it’s available for, and with funds being released too late in the financial year.

The Unified Tech Fund looks set to alleviate these issues and simplify the process of applying for funding as part of NHSX’s Who Pays for What proposals.

The Fund (only available to NHS England organisations) will consolidate several national technology funds (totalling £680m) and have a single approach to bidding; replacing the patchwork of funding strategies and opportunities of days gone by.

What does the Unified Tech Fund hope to achieve?

Aside from simplifying the process of awarding funding, core aims of the Unified Tech Fund are to:

  • level up the digital maturity of NHS trusts and consortia
  • ensure a basic shared care record is in place within all Integrated Care Systems (ICS)
  • level up cyber security capabilities, address key infrastructure and other specific weaknesses, with continued provision of back-up reviews
  • improve productivity throughout health and care
  • support the digitisation of the pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, ambulance and community services sectors, and improve interoperability
  • increase system capacity and resilience of diagnostic services. Improve safety and experience for patients and staff through digital capability and reduce manual processes
  • improve outcomes for women and children and also improve the safety of clinical care

What is the Digital Productivity fund, and why does automation technology play a key role?

£4m from the £680m Unified Tech Fund has been earmarked for Digital Productivity improvements.

This funding is available for projects that will accelerate the adoption of digital technologies to improve productivity.

So that’s technologies including:

We’re seeing the term Digital Productivity used more and more across our work with NHS trusts, and in the case of the Unified Tech Fund, RPA and intelligent automation have been earmarked as a way for NHS organisations to build their way out of the Covid-19 pandemic by improving operational efficiency.

Whether it’s tackling backlogs and waiting lists, or reducing error rates, and administrative processing time, Digital Productivity technologies allow staff time to focus on the value-adding side of their roles, rather than on the repetitive, manual tasks.

How do you identify what’s in scope for the funding?

Intelligent automation goes hand in hand with many Digital Productivity projects. As the name suggests, the technology is able to mimic human decision-making, meaning that it can be applied to both structured and unstructured processes in the NHS to improve operational efficiency.

We know first-hand the difference intelligent automation can make in healthcare, having partnered with Trusts to automate prescriptions, GP referrals, Covid reporting, and more – saving staff time and ultimately improving the patient experience.

If you're not sure whether your project is eligible for funding - we can help.

Applications close on the 30th November

Our intelligent automation experts can help you identify processes suitable for automation within your organisation, including those areas likely to provide the greatest return on time or costs saved. We can also help you benefit from intelligent automation to streamline your organisational data in preparation for future projects.

With a wealth of resources and experience helping applicants secure funding, Foundry4 can also support you with writing your automation business case and in your application for funding.

What are the next steps?

More information on the Unified Tech Fund, including how to apply, can be found on the NHSX website.

If you’d like to find out more about how Foundry4 can support your application for funding then please join our webinar on the 20th October or contact us via the form below and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs.

Join our explainer webinar

20th October 2021 - 15:00 - 15:30

In this session we'll walk you through the Unified Tech Fund and showcase examples of how automation technologies are already being used in the NHS