Three plans to join up patient records across a number of health and social care organisations are among 135 projects to have secured a share of NHS England’s £260m technology fund.

NHS England director of strategic systems and technology Beverley Bryant announced last week that the fund had been approved by the Treasury, although further details are yet to be published. The prospectus for the fund was first published in July.

Ms Bryant revealed to HSJ £114m of the £260m “Safer Wards Safer Hospitals” fund had so far been allocated, going to projects involving 100 trusts, in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The trusts behind a further set of projects, worth a total of £91m, have been told to improve the value for money ratios offered by their projects and to re-submit them in order to secure funding, she added.

NHS England will make a further announcement on these projects in January but there is a risk some of the funding could be lost if trusts cannot guarantee they can spend it in 2013-14.      

The remaining £55m from the initial fund is to be rolled into a second tranche of technology funding, which was initially announced in September and expected to total £240m.  

A prospectus for the second tranche of funding, now worth £295m, to be paid out over 2014-15 and 2015-16, will be published in January.  

Of the successful bids already allocated, 22 involve joining up records across different organisations; 63 involve single organisations transferring from paper to electronic record systems and 39 involve e-prescribing.

Ms Bryant said she was unable to name specific projects at this point but she confirmed the integrated records projects aligned with the Department of Health’s “integration pioneers” programme.

She said: “We have picked three to be ‘accelerators’. We are going to work more closely with them to push the boundaries to new heights. We want to help them by March 2015 to get some new and innovative ways to improve care across a community.”

She said one ‘accelerator’ project comprised a care trust, an acute trust, a clinical commissioning group and a local authority looking at joining up records across their area while other integrated projects involved sharing across less organisations.

The accelerators will be overseen by the new integrated digital care records group set up by NHS England last month.

Ms Bryant also previously revealed in November that about £20m of the fund has been earmarked for open source projects.


Bidding criteria for £100m nursing technology fund launched today

The long-awaited bidding criteria for the first tranche of the separate £100m nursing technology fund has been launched.

The application form published today covers the £30m of funding allocated for 2013-14.

A new process will be run for expressions of interest for the remaining £70m, which is to be allocated for 2014-15.

Ms Bryant told HSJ: “We are running two processes for the two years because time is running out.”

She said applications must either relate to mobile technologies, vital signs equipment and digital pens.

Applications would have to show “nursing leadership, an established procurement route and clear value for money or benefits strategy”, she added.

The deadline for submissions to NHS England is 15 January and an announcement on successful bidders is scheduled for mid February.

The fund was first announced by prime minister David Cameron in October 2012 amid concern about the amount of paperwork nurses face.

Mr Cameron said better technology help nurses have more “time to care” and allow them to deliver more effective and more efficient care to patients and service users.