NHS Digital trialling Wireless Center of Excellence–in face of ‘crisis’ level staffing shortages

NHS Digital has just closed a solicitation for organizations to demonstrate how wireless technologies can improve health and care services. This trial series, the Wireless Centre of Excellence, is in the process of being reviewed by NHS Digital and interviews will be set up with qualifying organizations. The trials fund wireless technologies that improve connectivity in health and care settings.

The Wireless Centre of Excellence appears to be the latest trial in a NHS Digital series. The current trial is University College London Hospitals’ Find & Treat service using 5G and low Earth orbit satellites to enable front-line screening services for tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis B and C to homeless people, individuals with drug or alcohol dependencies, vulnerable migrants and people who have been in prison. Another trial made South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust the first 5G-connected hospital in the UK. NHS Digital hopes that these wireless products can be a UK export adopted by other healthcare systems. There is more on NHS Digital’s efforts in wireless tech in Healthcare IT News, along with additional UK/NHS news (below)

Staff shortages power wireless innovation. A good part of the impetus for wireless technologies is contained in a recent cross-party MP report that states that NHS England is now short of 12,000 hospital doctors and more than 50,000 nurses and midwives, in a ‘crisis’ not seen since, well, ever. Both threaten patient safety and aggravate wait times. NHS Digital is trying to present an alternative using wireless to cut time to treatment and to reach patients the way they want faster. While NHS England is drawing up long-term plans to recruit more staff, the current shortage comes from clinical burnout and pay that has not kept up with inflation–not that different than the US, particularly in primary care and psychiatry. According to BBC reports, half of nurses are being recruited ex-UK. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have similar staffing pressures. BBC News

Additional UK news from Healthcare IT News:

  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Elsevier entered into a three-year partnership. Elsevier’s Care Planning solution will be integrated within the trust’s EHR.
  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published plans to strengthen the regulation of medical devices to improve patient safety and encourage innovation in five areas, taking advantage of Britain’s exit from the EU.
  • HelloSelf, a digital therapeutics startup, is partnering with Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust to refer patients to its therapy and coaching platform.
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