• Trusts to share £28m of tech funding in 2020-21
  • Allocation marks start of “digital aspirant” programme

Twenty-three trusts will share a £28m pot of technology funding as part of the first wave of “digital aspirant” providers, NHSX has announced.

The £28m is the first tranche of funding provided to the trusts, which will remain in the aspirant programme for three years.

Of the 23 trusts, 15 are acute, three are combined acute and community, four are mental health and one provides ambulance services.

The allocation per trust appears to be less than the amounts awarded to global digital exemplar trusts – the government’s previous flagship tech investment programme, which allocated funds to those considered the most digitally advanced. GDE trusts received £2.5-£4m in their first tranche.

According to NHSX, the aspirant programme, first announced by Matt Hancock in December, aims to “accelerate procurement, deployment and uptake of technology that is needed to underpin digital transformation”.

It is hoped this will provide NHS trusts with a “core set of digital capabilities”.

The aspirant trusts will be expected to use “blueprints” drawn up by GDE trusts over the last three years.

NHSX said the aspirants themselves would also be expected to develop blueprints to help trusts named in future waves.

The national tech unit will publish a full description of the programme, available funding, and application criteria later this year.

GDE trusts will continue to receive their funding allocations and will be expected to deliver their agreed milestones, the unit said.

Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said the aspirant programme would help “providers and systems” use digital technology to “transform the services they offer”.

HSJ has asked NHSX how the 23 trusts were selected and if the £28m is new money or taken from an existing pot.

The selected trusts are:

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust
  • Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust
  • Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust
  • East London Foundation Trust
  • East of England Ambulance Service Trust
  • James Paget University Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Mid Essex Hospital Services Trust
  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust
  • North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare Trust
  • Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber Foundation Trust
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust
  • Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust
  • South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals Trust
  • Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust
  • The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn Foundation Trust
  • The Rotherham Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals of Leicester Trust
  • Walsall Healthcare Trust
  • Western Sussex Hospitals Foundation Trust