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South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is one of three NHS ambulance trusts that have been awarded a share of £5m to develop into world class digital organisations.

On Wednesday, 24 January, NHS England announced that SCAS and two other ambulance trusts, West Midlands and North East NHS Foundation Trusts, will be the first organisations to enroll on the ambulance version of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme.

Over the next two years, SCAS will receive an additional c£1.7m from NHS England (which the Trust will match fund) to continue its pioneering work in digital transformation. Innovations already implemented by SCAS to make its services more efficient, resilient and safe include:

  • digitally integrated clinical patient management systems and dispatch systems
  • virtual digital telephony platforms
  • electronic patient record system

The announcement yesterday of an additional £5m in funding takes the total investment from NHS England to £10m as the three ambulance trusts develop into Global Digital Exemplars.

Charles Porter, Director of Finance at SCAS, said:

“We are privileged to have been named a global digital exemplar, which recognises the Trust as a successful technological innovator at the forefront of the digital arena. This recognition from NHS England will enable us to deliver further improvements in patient care, efficiency and integration within the local health system and the wider NHS.

The additional funding allows us to accelerate our investment in digital technologies and means we will be able to move more quickly towards our digital vision to be ‘paper free at the point of care and to provide seamless patient care leveraging the full resources of the NHS’.”

Vince Weldon, Associate Director of Information Management & Technology at SCAS, said:

“This recognition of the Trust’s investment in technology over many years to improve patient care and make our staff more effective will allow us to fast-track the next iteration of developments in the digital age. In particular we will see enhanced use of our vehicles as digital hubs, improved forecasting and planning based on the use of wide ranging data, and direct access for our clinicians (both on the telephone and at the patient’s side) to shared and current care information, all of which will improve our ability still further to provide the right care, first time to the people we serve.”

Will Smart, Chief Information Officer for Health and Care at NHS England, said:

“We have taken a different approach with the ambulance branch of the GDE programme and are asking the three successful Trusts to think of ways in which they can work together to drive improvements through the use of digital technology.

“By stepping up to become world class these three Trusts will join the most digitally advanced healthcare organisations across the globe and help deliver a sustainable and transformed NHS.”

The Trust’s participation in the Global Digital Exemplar programme will ensure SCAS continues to lead the way in demonstrating how digital technology can positively impact on patient care and support transformation projects to revolutionise the way in which healthcare is delivered.

As part of the programme, SCAS is keen to work with other NHS organisations and pursue jointly funded projects with the Trust’s external partners.

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