GDE Fast Follower funding agreement announcement – £10m digital health programme for local NHS gets go ahead

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been given the go ahead to deliver an exciting new programme of digital health technology and electronic patient pathways by NHS England.

The Trust, which is part of the Northern Care Alliance, is partnering with Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust to become Manchester’s first Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Fast Follower organisation. The NHS Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme is a national initiative which aims to improve digital maturity across the NHS.

A £5million funding boost will be matched by the Trust to invest a total of £10million in digital technology and improved patient care systems across hospitals in Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and North Manchester.

Dr Georges Ng Man Kwong, Consultant Chest Physician and Chief Clinical Information Officer (CCIO), said: “This is great news for patients and will mean our patient care systems and processes will become more advanced, using new digital technology.

“Being a GDE Fast Follower provides us with a great opportunity to try, implement and, if necessary, modify and improve new technologies to support patient care following ‘blue-print’ principles and processes which have already been tested at Salford.

“Importantly the GDE Fast Follower programme runs alongside our infrastructure improvement and future Electronic Patient Record (EPR) programmes which, as a whole, will enable us to achieve a digital future for healthcare.”

Pennine Acute NHS Trust is committed to change through investment in technology and digital initiatives and over the next few months staff will be reviewing the new technology and standard methodologies.

As part of the GDE Fast Follower approach, Pennine aims to replicate a number of projects deployed at Salford Royal.

For example, in the first phase of the programme they will be exploring how staff can use:

  • Digital task management App on wards –  to improve patient task workflow and ultimately improve bed management with prompt discharge of patients.
  • Virtual consultation including state-of-the-art mobile robotics to help discharge patients
  • New digital clinical decision support forms to support delirium and dementia, dietetics, VTE, stroke and FNOF pathways
  • Online appointment management system for patients – introducing booking and scheduling reminders for patients in the first phase.

The Trust is also setting up two new Digital Experience Centres, based at Royal Oldham and Fairfield Hospitals, to showcase some of the new technology for staff and patients.

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