The tech fund will happen and successful NHS trusts will have a busy Christmas and New Year period. This was the assurance given by NHS England’s national director of Patients and Information, Tim Kelsey at a “market making” day for external organisations wishing to work with the NHS on eprescribing and open source projects.
The event, hosted by Kelsey and his deputy Beverley Bryant, and part organised by ZPB, brought together 60 NHS trusts, 20 SMEs and 29 larger suppliers to try and catalyse work between the three types of organisations. The idea was simple how can the safer wards, safer hospitals technology fund be used to better effect.
But the first half of the afternoon focussed on Bryant’s admission that getting the first tranche of funding out of the treasury had taken longer than all had hoped. Indeed Bryant left the session to hot foot it over to Whitehall to continue to put pressure onto the money men. She politely declined the helpful intervention, from one NHS trust IT director that he – and the other 150 delegates – also attend the meeting with the bigwigs.
However Bryant and Kelsey returned to join a panel session with the good news that the first round of funding was imminent. Kelsey, outlining his vision that the NHS will improve through the twin tacks of transparency and participation, also confirmed new tech fund applications will open in the new year as will more details to the successor vehicle to NHS Choices and how SMEs could get involved. The remainder of the event saw breakout sessions addressing ideas such as open source development and master class on frameworks from the government procurement service.
The day ended with five ‘innovators’ mainly those who have done it already imparting wisdom on how to work with the NHS. I Want Great Care, Big White Wall, Open Healthcare UK, The Learning Clinic and Patients Know Best told tales with varying degree of optimism as to the situation. “Merry Christmas” was Kelsey’s parting shot – with a promise of more events to come.