• £200m for new round of digital exemplars
  • Matt Hancock will call out “crashing” NHS IT systems
  • Five pilot sites for NHS app

A further round of £200m will be distributed to some of the most advanced digital trusts in the country, the health and social care secretary will announce today.

Speaking at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester today, Matt Hancock will announce a further round of trusts that will join the 25 already part of the flagship “global digital exemplar” programme.

These trusts will share the £200m, which they will be expected to match locally through to 2020-21. The intention is that they provide models for other, less advanced, trusts to follow.

It is not clear how many trusts will be picked in this latest round, but they will include hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts.

It is the second major tranche of digital investment to be approved by the Treasury since Mr Hancock started in July. In his maiden speech, he announced a £412m digital fund for sustainability and transformation partnerships.

Neither fund is new money and they form part of the £1.3bn of additional tech funding through to 2020-21 secured by Mr Hancock’s predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, in early 2016.

In his speech, Mr Hancock will also highlight the disconnect between different IT systems across the NHS and poor reliability.

He is due to say: “Our hospitals operate dozens of systems each that don’t talk to each other. GPs, social care, pharmacies and community care are on different systems. Systems crashing is a regular occurrence. The social care system is not at all integrated, when its integration is vital.

“The NHS infrastructure is stronger and moving in the right direction. Local pockets of brilliance shine out. The generic technology available outside the NHS is a million times better.

“Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us, and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting edge system in the world for the use of technology.”

Mr Hancock will also announce that a further five pilots of the national NHS app for patients will get underway by the end of month, ahead of a national roll out in December.

It is the second round of pilots for NHS apps, with Babylon Healthcare and eConsult involved in pilots in London late last year.

The new pilots are in Liverpool, Hastings, Bristol, Staffordshire and South Worcestershire. The app will allow patients to book GP appointments, share data preferences and access NHS 111. In total, the pilots will cover 239,000 people. 

It will not include electronic consultation, one of the main features promoted by Mr Hunt at the Expo last year.