Wave 2 of NHS Test Beds takes aim at diabetes and A&E admissions


NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have announced a second wave of Test Beds for new healthcare technologies tackling cancer, diabetes and necessary hospital visits.

Seven sites have been selected to run trials of digital initiatives designed to address healthcare challenges in the NHS.

Aided by £7 million in funding, the programme seeks to improve both care delivery and the way in which NHS staff work.

Wave 2 Test Beds include a machine learning initiative for breast cancer screening being run in Nottingham and a new digital platform being launched in Greater Manchester to help people with diabetes self-manage their condition.

Delivery of the new Test Beds will begin before Christmas.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “These programmes will fast track innovations from lab bench to patient bedside and help ensure that NHS patients continue to be the first to benefit from the life-changing treatments developed in this country.”

The first NHS Test Beds were announced in in early 2016 by NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, with the hunt for the second wave announced in February this year.

Programmes are focused around tackling major healthcare issues facing the UK – such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart failure – and how new technological innovations can be used to help patients better cope with their conditions outside of hospital.

In addition to the Greater Manchester Test Bed, South West London Health and Care Partnership and North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG will also run programmes focused on diabetes self-management.

Meanwhile, Care City in London will explore how smartphone applications and other management tools can support patients with long-term conditions.

Also in London, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust will be offering patients access to their digital health records with the aim of reducing missed appointments and duplication of clinical activity.

Another programme being run at Royal Stoke University Hospital, meanwhile, will explore how commercially-available technologies can be used to manage clinical interventions for patients with heart failure to reduce hospital re-admissions.

Funding for the Wave 2 Test Beds is being provided by NHS England, the DHSC and the Office of Life Sciences (OLS).

NHS England will front £2 million for the diabetes management programmes, while the remaining £5 million will come from DHSC and OLS to support interventions in other areas.

Dr Sam Roberts, director of innovation, research and life sciences at NHS England, said: “Our ambitious Test Beds programme is bringing together innovators, industry and the NHS to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the NHS, including diabetes.

“Testing multiple cutting-edge technologies – from AI to wearable sensors – in a real-world setting, allows us to discover what works for patients and will provide the evidence needed to accelerate the use of world leading interventions as part of the long-term plan for the NHS.”

Full details of the Wave 2 Test Beds can be found here.

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