Unified Tech Fund prospectus

First published 31 August 2021

Updated 7 December 2021 – see updates.


Executive summary

You've told us that funding for technology is too complicated. We've not told you early enough how much funding is available or what it's available for, and we've often released funds too late in the year. Our proposal in Who Pays for What sets out our plan to address this and more. The Unified Tech Fund is the first step for 2021 to 2022 and will set out clearly the funding available and have a single approach to bidding for it. Beyond this, we will be making technology funding available to Integrated Care Systems (ICS) directly as they become statutory bodies.

While strategy for digital transformation has remained consistent, a long history of attempts to fund the digitisation of the health and care system has resulted in a patchwork of funding strategies and opportunities. These can be confusing and difficult for you to engage with. For example, the Digital Transformation Portfolio previously evolved into the Tech Transformation Portfolio with the 2019 publication of the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP).

To help fix this, we have brought together several national technology funds. This amounts to £938 million available to NHS organisations throughout the financial year 2021 to 2022. The breakdown of this funding for the financial year is as follows.

Summary of funds
Fund Closing date Available funding
Frontline digitisation 15 October 2021 £308 million
Shared care records 22 March 2022 £50 million
Cyber security infrastructure fund 23 December 2021 £27 million
Cyber security remediation revenue fund 12 November 2021 £3.3 million
Digital productivity 30 November 2021 £4 million
Digital pharmacy, optometry, dental, ambulance and community (PODAC) 7 October 2021 £6 million
Diagnostics 31 August 2021 £248 million
Elective recovery technology fund 29 October 2021 £250 million
Digital maternity 14 November 2021 £52 million
Digitising social care 5 November 2021 £8.2 million

For the Unified Tech Fund, we have set out what the funding is intended to achieve, how the funding process will work and what you need to do to bid. All of this intends to provide clarity to those who are applying. The information here is for financial year 2021 to 2022. We want to ensure this is updated as new funding becomes available. We will post it here and let you know it's been updated. We will also refine the process as we go, and therefore welcome your feedback on what is working and what is not.

If you have any questions on the Unified Tech Fund or would like to discuss the process please email utf@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Funding aims

This prospectus outlines the scope and criteria for application to the various national funds that seek to:

  • level up the digital maturity of NHS trusts and consortia
  • ensure a basic shared care record is in place within all ICSs
  • level up cyber security capabilities, address key infrastructure and other specific weaknesses, with continued provision of back-up reviews
  • remediate specific cyber security vulnerabilities
  • scale what we know works to improve productivity throughout health and care
  • support the digitisation of the pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, ambulance and community services sectors, and improve interoperability
  • increase system capacity and resilience of diagnostic services. Improve safety and experience for patients and staff through digital capability and reduce manual processes
  • implement digital solutions that will enable elective recovery
  • improve outcomes for women and pregnant people and also to improve safety of clinical care
  • increase the adoption of digital social care records, implementing or scaling falls prevention technologies and developing underpinning infrastructure

Application process and requirements of applicants

In each section you will find an explanation of each area and the eligibility criteria. We are taking applications through our online application form and we will review applications on a monthly basis.

Applicants may submit for more than one fund. Applicants will not be awarded from multiple funds for the same purpose.

To release the funds we need approval of the application and central government approval of the programme. We will let you know when you can expect to hear funding decisions.

Applications will open on 31 August 2021. However, two funds, digital maternity and digital child health are not currently taking applications. You can select to register your interest for these funds for the time being through the normal application route, and you will be notified when they become available.

The Unified Tech Fund will no longer be taking applications after 22 March 2022. However, prior to submission, applicants must be aware that some funds close before this date. These closing dates are set out within each fund page.

As well as aligning to the eligibility criteria of the funds we want to make sure that the outcomes and benefits described in your cases are realistic and delivered.

Where matched funding is required we would expect to see a clear plan for this and be able to demonstrate after this has taken place. To ensure teams are not doing a business case until they know they have been successful, where appropriate we will ask applicants to do this once they know the outcome. This will be through their existing routes.

Introduction

The Unified Tech Fund

Each fund has a unique focus system and will be best placed to decide, based on their needs, where to apply. These differences are set out in each fund page and applicants need to be clear they can meet the objectives.

For all applications submitted we will want to ensure that:

  • applicants clearly demonstrate that they have worked across their ICS Organisations to ensure that investment proposals align to their local system needs
  • requests are reviewed and approved by regional and ICS teams
  • bids focus on levelling up and innovation within the ICS

This prospectus outlines the money available, scope, and criteria for application to the following areas of funding:

  • Frontline digitisation
  • Shared care records
  • Cyber security capital infrastructure
  • Cyber security remediation revenue
  • Digital productivity
  • Pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, ambulance, community (PODAC)
  • Diagnostics
  • Elective recovery technology fund
  • Digital maternity
  • Digitising social care

Funding that has not been included in the Unified Tech Fund is described in the out of scope section.

Application process

The Unified Tech Fund is open to receive applications as of 31 August 2021.

Applications must be submitted through our online application form. Each section gives you the application criteria for each fund and a maximum application value, if applicable. Applicants may apply for multiple funds.

Bids will need to have ICS, regional support, local approval, a single point of contact and demonstrate alignment to the forthcoming ICS Digital and Data Transformation Plan. Bidding consortia will need to identify a lead organisation for whom there is a single point of contact.

Funding will be released at different points in the year for each fund, applicants will be kept informed of the timeline for each fund they have applied to throughout the process.

On approval, applicants will be made aware of their allocation and this will be accompanied by the appropriate agreement, for example a memorandum of understanding to allow the funding to be administered. Some programmes, such as frontline digitisation, may ask for more detailed requirements.

Approval of investments

Bids would need to be consistent with the Digital Transformation Plan for Health and Care and the What Good Looks Like guidance.

Bids will be reviewed by a multidisciplinary team in NHSX, who will assess applicants against eligibility criteria and where necessary work with applicants; through their nominated point of contact, to clarify and refine their submissions.

Finalised bids which meet the criteria will be submitted to the Unified Tech Fund monthly review board which will decide on the allocation of funding.

Once indicative funding decisions have been made, applicants will be informed, and applicants will submit the business case through their existing routes.

Investment cases totalling below £15 million will be approved through local investment approval processes.

Investment cases with whole life costs over £15 million will be endorsed locally then submitted through the central business case approvals process led by DHSC and NHSEI. For more detailed information, please see the current NHSEI guidance.

Governance and assurance

Bids for some of the funds in the Unified Tech Fund will need to comply with the governance and assurance processes that can be found in their sections of this page. Please check each fund section for any specific governance and assurance processes that may be set out.

For all other funds in the Unified Tech Fund, assurance will be proportionate to the delivery risk and the investment value. Delivery will be managed against an agreed plan. Assurance processes will include:

  • quarterly reporting
  • active risk management
  • an obligation on applicants to track benefits and share learning
  • assurance review before funding is released against delivery milestones
  • intervention when necessary. In some cases it may be necessary to stop investment until remedial action is taken and the chances of success are once more proved to be good

Out of scope

There are a number of digital funds available to the system that are administered outside the remit of the Unified Tech Fund. All of the following funds are administered by NHSX, with the exception of the new hospital programme, which is administered by NHSEI.

Regional scale programme

£10.5 million is available within this programme, with a weighted allocation by region for 6 months. Full year funding will be allocated based on assessment of Q1 performance.

Please note that this funding has already been agreed and regions have begun working on plans.

Scope for 2021 to 2022 is:

  • care homes
  • long-term conditions management or virtual wards
  • annual physical health assessment in mental health
  • locally defined priority

If you would like to know more information about the regional scale programme please email innovation.collaborative@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Digital pathway transformations

This includes pathways that are being overseen through the NHSEI pathway governance route, such as:

  • ophthalmology
  • dermatology
  • long term conditions including hypertension, and gastroenterology
  • cancer
  • musculoskeletal
  • high volume surgical pathways

The supporting architecture for pathways will include Electronic Referral System (ERS) and image sharing capabilities.

Funding for image sharing capability can be accessed through the diagnostics fund.

If you would like to know more information about the digital pathway transformations programme, please email dnhsx@nhsx.nhs.uk.

The digital health partnership award: supporting people at home

This award will look for products and services that support people with long-term conditions to remotely monitor their health through connected home technologies. £4 million of funding will be available for:

  • optimisation of care pathways
  • patient-centred data exchange
  • self-management and prevention advice
  • system efficiencies

Visit our pages about the digital health partnership award: supporting people at home to find out more, or email partnershipsaward@nhsx.nhs.uk.

The new hospital programme (NHP)

This programme will ensure up to 48 brand new hospitals have good hardware, excellent connectivity, integrated systems, and be showcases for digital innovation.

The majority of funding for this programme is outside of the scope of the Unified Tech Fund. However, there may be opportunities for some frontline digitisation funding for participating organisations. Eligible NHP organisations should apply through the Unified Tech Fund.

If you would like to know more information about the new hospital programme, please email nhp@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Frontline digitisation: Applicant information

Closing date

Please note that this fund is now closed as of 11.59pm on 15 October 2021. If you have any further questions regarding this fund, please contact utf@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £263 million and revenue funding of £45 million.

Total available per applicant

Up to £6 million of combined capital and revenue funding is available to an individual trust for core digital capabilities across multiple years. In exceptional cases up to a further £6 million is available for enabling infrastructure across multiple years. Seed funding of up to £250,000 per organisation is available to help with development of business cases or digital strategy.

Eligible applicants

  • Individual secondary care acute, specialist, mental health, community and ambulance trusts
  • Trust consortia
  • Individual ICS hosted by a trust
  • Collaboratives of multiple ICSs
  • Community of interest company or social enterprise providing NHS community care services

This excludes organisations who already have a signed letter of agreement for multi-year funding for frontline digitisation, unless they believe they are eligible for further funding.

Context and purpose

Levels of digitisation across the NHS are mixed. To maximise the benefits of digital transformation and the power of the NHS’s data we will need the NHS to have the right digital enablers. We need to level up the digital maturity of all providers so that they have adequate enabling hardware, robust connectivity, electronic patient record systems and other core capabilities. Previous programmes have made progress towards this aim.

The Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme supported trusts that were best able to prove the benefits of digital transformation. These GDE trusts then supported Fast Follower trusts by spreading best practice and innovation. Following this, the Health System Led Investment programme has provided around £400 million to spend on local priorities in a system-wide approach, with the aim of narrowing the gap between the most and least digitally mature trusts. Most recently the Digital Aspirants programme from financial year 2020 to 2021 targeted the large bulk of trusts to level up digital maturity and support levelling up across the system.

Through the frontline digitisation fund, we aim to continue levelling up secondary care providers so that all organisations meet the ensure smart foundations success measure described in the What Good Looks Like (WGLL) guidance.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

Bids can come from ICSs and individual providers and we encourage collaborative procurements. We will invest in:

  • digital transformation to ensure ICSs (particularly those starting from a low base) have the appropriate capability
  • enabling digital infrastructure, such as new networks, security, wifi, cloud data storage and end user devices
  • core digital capabilities, such as
    • patient administration systems
    • records, assessments and plans
    • transfers of care
    • orders and results management
    • medicines management and optimisation
    • decision support
    • remote care
    • asset and resource optimisation
    • theatres

Applications for capabilities that directly support recovery of elective activity post-pandemic are encouraged.

Applications for frontline digitisation will be open throughout September and October. Subject to demand, there may be a second phase of applications later in the financial year.

Where we make multi year funding commitments we will prioritise these for future year spending. This funding is not guaranteed as the amount of funding available is determined by the outcome of Her Majesty's Treasury spending review 2021 to 2022. As funding allocations move to ICSs in future years the programme will manage this transition with providers and ICSs.

What's not in scope?

If your organisation has already received significant funding, you will be a lower priority for further funding. Once a trust has reached a core level of digitisation, as defined by WGLL, they will no longer be eligible to apply for frontline digitisation funding. This is because there is the expectation that organisations will be financially self-sufficient following the investment provided.

Eligibility for participation

We will invest in organisations that can demonstrate their need for funding to enable levelling up of digital maturity to meet the baseline described in the WGLL guidance. There is a need for applications to demonstrate full support from NHS trust, ICS, and regional leadership teams and align with ICS and national priorities. Trusts must also have well defined digital strategies and a coherent delivery plan with clinical support.

Trusts will be expected to follow the appropriate business case approvals process. For example, investments over £15 million will require a strategic review at strategic outline case (SOC) stage, outline business case (OBC) and full business case (FBC).

Applications can be made in advance of the business case being completed. However, to receive funding trusts must have an approved FBC and be able to start on their transformation journey immediately. For trusts unable to develop an approved business case, seed funding is available to support organisations.

Previous funding received under provider digitisation and other initiatives will be considered when assessing requests for funding. However, trusts that have had significant funding will be a lower priority, such as acute GDEs.

Applicants must demonstrate a plan to match funds. This is to ensure sustainability of future tech funding, as well as local ownership and accountability for project success. Matched funding principles are applied over the whole life of a programme. This can be tailored to suit individual circumstances, for example, funding may include a different mix of revenue and capital in different years.

To ensure no providers are left behind by the barrier of matched funding, consideration will be given based on individual circumstances. This is because we understand that some providers can be financially challenged but are still capable of delivering a highly successful programme.

For you to have a successful bid, it is important to demonstrate digital leadership at board level, clinical support, financial self-sufficiency and a willingness to deliver change.

We expect that providers will adhere to procurement regulations and compete fairly and transparently in the open market using the preferred frameworks of frontline digitisation such as Clinical and Digital Information Systems Framework and Health Systems Support Framework.

Your implementation plans would need to consider the cyber implication for any new development. In particular, this may include data protection risks and opportunities arising from technology. As a priority, you will also need to consider how personal and business data is collected, stored and transmitted, including appropriate controls to manage risk in line with General Data Protection Regulation.

If your bid is successful, we expect you to actively support the learning ecosystem, working collaboratively with the frontline digitisation programme and other providers to share lessons, capture learning in a structured manner. For example, this would include: blueprinting, being open and transparent about risks and opportunities, supporting proactive communications and celebrating impacts.

Prioritisation of funding

Following evidence of approved business case our investment will be prioritised towards:

  • continuation of existing multi-year investment and supported schemes
  • levelling up the digital capability of the least mature ICS’s
  • in-scope digital capabilities that support the frontline response to the backlog in elective procedures
  • platforms providing aggregated core clinical and operational capabilities, such as enterprise EPRs
  • individual applications that support an integrated suite of digital capabilities such as PAS, orders, communications and results, medication management and administration and resource optimisation
  • enabling digital infrastructure such as networks, security, wifi, data storage, end user devices
  • organisations participating in the new hospital programme

It is important for you to be aware that significant organisational performance issues will mean you cannot be prioritised until these issues are addressed. An example of such an issue would be cyber performance.

Governance and assurance

If you receive funding from us, we expect you to follow the governance and assurance process detailed below.

Central and matched funded initiatives are required to have dedicated programme governance that reports into the executive board and sub-committee structures, ensuring board of trustee oversight, and ownership by a member of the executive (CEO, CFO, CIO, COO). Programme delivery will need to explicitly include clinical leadership of the programme (CCIO, CMO,CNIO).

Organisations are expected to use standard industry configurations and system blueprints to evidence use of replication to improve safety, pace, and cost.

Organisations will plan for the business transformation required to support their programme through deployment, stabilisation, and ongoing optimisation and this needs to be evident in each of the 3 business cases. A sustainable resourcing model and investment into clinical informatics need to be included as part of the management and financial case during FBC approval.

All contracts resulting from Digital Aspirant investment need to be shared by the organisation with NHSX and NHS Digital in a full, unredacted state. Organisations must ensure that there are no contractual or legal restrictions that would prevent such sharing.

Organisations will also ensure they keep up to date with all the latest cyber security updates and guidance, and ensure that infrastructure is kept up to date to take advantage of the latest solutions and avoid vulnerabilities.

Organisations, where possible, will seek guidance from other digitally mature trusts.

We expect that all organisations commit to communicating about the benefits the investment that they have received has enabled for frontline staff and their patients. They will agree to amplifying and cascading messages as well as showing support and advocacy. Each organisation will be expected to provide a named point of contact within their organisation to be part of the frontline digitisation communications network.

Organisations will be required to adhere to the programme assurance, reporting and governance requirements which will be published in due course. Organisations are expected to phase programmes to support funding gates, transparent monitoring, change control and shared assessment of the likelihood of success. This includes reporting benefits for the life of the investment.

Organisations will be required to extend an invite to frontline digitisation to relevant programme boards.

There is a clear obligation on the leadership of the recipient organisations to ensure these commitments and agreed milestones are met. Failure to do so will result in no further funding being given, and steps will be taken to recover the funding already provided.

Shared care records: Applicant information

Closing date

11.59pm on 22 March 2022.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £50 million.

Total available per applicant

Based on individual needs.

Eligible applicants

  • Individual ICSs
  • Collaboratives of ICSs

Capital funding will be allocated to a nominated NHS Trust or Trusts for and on behalf of their local ICS. All NHS organisations will be expected to buy or build technology which meets agreed standards, including new interoperability standards.

Context and purpose

Since the publication of the LTP, the Local Health and Care Records programme has been accelerated and prioritised by NHSX following the initial COVID-19 response. We are now committed to having a basic shared care record in place across all ICSs by September 2021. The long term aspirations of the LTP still stand, and the key role of digital and data in underpinning a successful ICS is clearly set out in the published NHSEI guidance.

We are aiming to spend up to £50 million for the shared care records programme to deliver the following objectives for financial year 2021 to 2022:

  • Better health: improve the quality and safety of care by providing authorised health and care professionals with safe and secure access to patient data, where, when and how they need it.
  • Better care: deliver the best possible experience of integrated care to people across the health and care system by enabling people to be active partners in their care plans and care records.
  • Lower cost: reduce costs by avoiding wastage such as unnecessary tests, attendances, admissions and visits caused by a failure to access information.

Anticipated benefits of the implementation of shared care records include:

  • improvements in quality of decision making through providing timely, accurate information about the person being cared for
  • improvement in the experience of care by people and their carers through a more integrated service across health and care providers
  • reduction in costs such as duplicated tests, attendances, conveyances, admissions, visits, length of stay
  • reduction in unproductive time of professionals and administrative staff in searching for, collecting, collating and communicating information

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

The shared care record programme builds on the earlier local health and care record programme and shifts the focus to the near term provision of basic shared care records in each ICS in England. This involves:

  • focusing on support for direct care
  • involving social care providers, where possible given variable levels of digitisation
  • accelerating implementation for September 2021

Through our work on baselining, we have identified areas which have already achieved high levels of connectivity and also those areas which require more focused support to meet that target.

Bids are invited from ICSs. The scope of a basic shared care record is focused on the connectivity of NHS Trusts and the general practice elements of primary care networks.

The level of provision to be achieved by September 2021 is set out in the shared care records Minimum Viable Solution (MVS) 1.0.

MVS 1.0 sets out that:

  • all NHS trusts and general practice elements of primary care networks within a ICS footprint should be connected to a basic shared care record
  • frontline professionals should have direct in-context access from their usual clinical systems with no separate login required
  • the solution should show conformance to the Core Information Standards

This is focused on connectivity of all NHS Trusts and the general practice parts of Primary Care Networks as a minimum. In some exceptional cases Trusts may be excluded where it is not good value for money, for example, investment in legacy systems that are soon to be replaced. Similarly some local systems will wish to go beyond the minimum and connect other partners. Where such proposals align with local priorities, they will not not be excluded from consideration.

The programme will run until March 2022, after which a further programme of work will be established to deliver the commitments set out in the LTP, through to March 2024.

What's not in scope?

Funding will not be awarded for systems where a basic level of shared care record is already in place to the levels set out in MVS 1.0. However, such initiatives may be considered in a second funding round, depending on the overall progress made nationally.

In the event of a national team gaining confidence about the delivery status of MVS 1.0, funding criteria will be adjusted mid-year. This will allow further progress and address the commitments for shared care records as set out in the NHS LTP. Commitments include opportunities to support interoperability, and population health management and planning using de-identified data alongside ensuring robust ICS-wide cyber security and information governance arrangements are in place.

Eligibility for participation

The shared care record investment fund is seeking proposals from individual ICSs, or multiple ICSs working together as collaboratives to deliver a shared care record capability.

Where we are making capital available, this will need to be taken by an appropriate nominated corporate body, such as an NHS trust or trusts, for and on behalf of the local ICSs. If successful, you will also be responsible for coordinating the consequent revenue implications of servicing that capital funding.

We expect that applicants are capable of matched funding. This is to ensure sustainability of future tech funding as well as local ownership and accountability for project success. Matched funding principles can be applied over the whole life of a programme. They can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances where possible, for example, funding may include a different mix of revenue and capital in different years.

To ensure no systems are left behind by the barrier of matched funding, consideration will be given based on individual circumstances. This is because we understand that some systems will be financially challenged but are still capable of delivering a highly successful programme.

If you wish to apply, we ask that you:

  • demonstrate that you need the funding to enable delivery and access to a shared care record system to the level defined as MVS 1.0 by September 2021
  • have not been in receipt of substantial previous national funding for similar initiatives
  • have a coherent delivery plan
  • have evidence of necessary capacity and capability to deliver
  • have evidence of strong system-wide leadership and support

Prioritisation of funding

Initially, funding will be allocated to ICSs that can demonstrate a need for funding to enable access to, or deliver a shared care record solution in line with MVS 1.0. Applicants can rest assured that application through the Unified Tech Fund will not slow down the release of funds for those ICSs bidding for funds to support their September MVS 1.0 goal.

Governance and assurance

Assurance will be proportionate to the delivery risk and the investment value. Delivery will be managed against an agreed plan. Assurance processes will include:

  • periodic reporting
  • active risk management
  • local systems will be required to commit to the realisation of benefits through deployment of shared care records. Those benefits, both cash releasing and non-cash releasing may be retained by local systems
  • assurance review before funding is released against delivery milestones
  • intervention when necessary and in some cases it may be necessary to stop investment until remedial action is taken and the chances of success are once more proved to be good

Cyber security infrastructure fund: Applicant information

Closing date

11.59pm on 23 December 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of up to £27 million.

Total available per applicant

As an individual organisation, your bid should not exceed £250,000 within the financial year. However NHSX may waive that limit if the cyber risk posed to the individual organisation or wider system is unacceptable and cannot otherwise be addressed.

Eligible applicants

  • Individual NHS trusts
  • Clinical commissioning groups (CCG)

Context and purpose

Over the next five years, the NHS will undergo a dramatic transformation in how it uses technology, leverages data analytics, and provides world-class patient care and preventative services. To realise the full potential of these changes, good cyber security is required. Cyber security is a pivotal enabler in everything the system does and delivers, protecting patient safety and maintaining public trust in increasingly digital services.

Up to £27 million capital will be available in 2021 to 2022 to help NHS trusts and CCGs reach compliance with the single cyber standard for the NHS, the Data Security and Protection Toolkit (DSPT).

Our fund aims to support levelling up within the system and address critical cyber infrastructure weakness. This includes weaknesses that prevent compliance with the DSPT standard and potential specific weaknesses identified through NHS Digital on-site cyber security assessments or other security reviews, such as back-up reviews and penetration tests.

A centralised approach will be taken where we can reduce procurement costs, there is a common need for a specific technology and where central investment is identified as the most efficient and effective way to address them.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

Organisations will be able to bid for funding to address:

  • critical infrastructure weakness which introduces security risk. This can either be a digital equivalent to "backlog maintenance" such as outdated network switches, outdated virtual private network tech, protective domain name service capability or new firewalls to enable onboarding to NHS Digital’s secure boundary
  • specific weaknesses identified through an NHS Digital on-site cyber security assessment or other security reviews, such as backup reviews, active directory reviews or independently provided penetration tests within the past 12 months
  • weaknesses preventing compliance with the DSPT standard for 2020 to 2021 which, once addressed, will provide the mandatory evidence to demonstrate compliance with a DSPT assertion

Capital will be allocated directly to organisations and will be made available in quarter 2 and quarter 3. We encourage eligible organisations to submit applications as soon as possible, given that we will be reviewing submissions at the end of each month. We reserve the right to close the fund earlier than the published closing date if we receive sufficient applications for the totality of funds available.

What's not in scope?

The following funding requests are out of scope:

  • Funding requests that can be satisfied by pre-existing contracts, frameworks, future centrally-funded initiatives (such as privileged access management or security incident and event monitoring solutions or are contrary to prevailing cyber security best practice, such as virtual patching).
  • Routine IT upgrades, including desktop hardware for Windows 10 deployments or extended security update licenses.
  • Revenue costs associated with the capital asset. Implementation and training costs can be included in the capital submission. Applicants must confirm that they are able to self-fund standalone training, resource and licensing.

Eligibility for participation

You may only submit a bid if you are an NHS trust or a CCG. Your bids for capital must be supported by the NHSEI regional office and by the NHS Digital Data Security Centre Regional Security Lead.

Applications will be reviewed by NHSX, National Cyber Security Centre and NHS Digital.

Though matched funding is not required, your bid will still be considered if it includes matched funding. We also need you to provide assurance that you have the required revenue funding stream to deploy the capital.

If your bid is successful, we will require you to complete an annual assurance report to confirm that your spend on agreed items was successfully completed and which DSPT assertions you were able to remediate by the procurement. We may also ask you to provide evidence of this where necessary.

Additional support available

NHSEI Heads of Digital Transformation and the NHS Digital Data Security Centre Regional Security Leads are available in all NHSEI regions to support organisations in identifying and submitting bids for capital projects.

Prioritisation of funding

You will be treated as a priority if your bid is supported by a recent NHS Digital provided Backup Review or an NHS Digital On-site Cyber Security Assessment carried out in 2021.

We expect that your bid will help you to meet or maintain compliance with at least one mandatory DSPT assertion in the 2021 to 2022 DSPT return. We also ask that you clearly demonstrate how the capital will remediate a vulnerability or assist in doing so.

Prioritisation of bids will include the criticality of NHS organisations in particular to the emergency care pathway and the cyber maturity of the organisation. Cyber maturity will be a prioritisation factor as the purpose of our fund is to help support large NHS organisations to reach a cyber baseline standard. That list is likely to include, but may not be limited to:

  • major trauma centres
  • ambulance trusts
  • identified areas of risk with organisation, such as DSPT returns, backup report, active directory reviews and on-site assessments

Cyber security remediation revenue fund: Applicant information

Closing date

11.59pm on 12 November 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Revenue funding of £3.3 million.

Total available per applicant

Individual NHS trusts can apply for remediation revenue grant funding of up to £20,000.

Eligible applicants

  • Individual NHS trusts

Context and purpose

Individual NHS trusts are invited to submit a bid for remediation revenue grant funding to assist with the remediation of cyber security vulnerabilities identified in a review report or identified in your DSPT return.

Before applying, trusts are encouraged to first check the NHS Shared Business Services Cyber Security Services Framework, specifically Lot 2 ‘Consultancy Services’ and Lot 3 ‘Staffing Resources, to identify if the resources available through this framework will address the resource requirements. This framework has been assured by NHS Digital and NHS Shared Business Services.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

This remediation revenue grant aims to fund specialist cyber security resources or support staff to help NHS Trusts to remediate cyber security vulnerabilities identified in:

  • NHS Digital on-site assessments delivered in 2021
  • DSPT for trusts with status of ‘standards not met’ or ‘approaching standard’
  • NHS Digital backup reviews delivered in 2021
  • NHS Digital active directory reviews delivered in 2021
  • NHS Digital Office 365 penetration tests
  • organisational action plans to move off unsupported systems
  • organisational analysis of the root cause of not being able to respond quickly to high severity alerts

What's not in scope?

The fund cannot be used to procure software, licenses, or any other business as usual activity.

Our fund cannot be used for general resources, but rather to assist in the remediation of the specific vulnerabilities identified in the categories listed above.

This fund must not be used to procure capital assets or to pay for capital assets, the cyber security infrastructure fund is available for public dividend capital (PDC) funding.

Eligibility for participation

This remediation revenue grant is only available to NHS trusts, who can apply for funding of up to £20,000. If you are successful, the revenue will be transferred to your lead organisation. If you are unsure who this is, please contact your NHSE regional office. This revenue must be used within the financial year 2021 2022.

Prioritisation of funding

Depending on the level of subscription for this fund, NHSX reserves the right to increase or reduce the amount of awarded funding to successful applicants.

Governance and assurance

Along with the governance and assurance processes in place for the Unified Tech Fund, the NHSX cyber security programme team will initiate a financial assurance project in April 2022 to seek confirmation of the spend. Failure to respond to this assurance project may result in further bids for revenue or capital being declined.

Digital productivity: Applicant information

Closing date

11.59pm on 30 November 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £4 million.

Total available per applicant

For this fund, spending awards will be applicable from October 2021 and you may bid for up to £250,000 per organisation.

Eligible applicants

  • NHS organisations
  • Voluntary, community and social enterprise alliance
  • Social care organisations and local governments with direct linkage to NHS services
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement departments and regions
  • CCGs
  • ICSs
  • Government and NHS arms length bodies partners (such as Department for Health and Social Care, Health Education England, NHS Digital, Care Quality Commission, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)

Context and purpose

The need to improve productivity is more important than ever as we move out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Significant productivity growth will be required for the foreseeable future in order to mitigate the productivity reduction caused by COVID-19 counter-measures.

Research by the University of York shows that organisations with greater levels of improved productivity have reduced employee sickness rates and absenteeism, error rates and administrative processing time.

An improvement in productivity level, will give more focus on clinical decision-making and will reduce variations in clinical practice, patient outcomes measures, operational and clinical time utilisation and financial efficiency.

With the extensive range of digital solutions available across healthcare, our programme aims to help organisations to improve productivity by adopting digital technology.

We will also support applicants in finding out where digital is being done well, signposting you to evidence based case studies and similar useful resources. Sharing learning promotes sustainability, collaboration and expertise, speeding up the use of productivity-improving digital technologies, in places where they have the biggest impact.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

You will be able to bid for capital funding support to accelerate the adoption and utilisation of proven productivity-improving digital technologies such as:

  • real time location services including radio frequency identification devices
  • robotic process automation
  • virtual and augmented reality technologies
  • intelligent automation
  • value added labour saving digital capabilities across all systems

To avoid overwhelming individual organisations with too many priorities and support offers, many of the interventions in this programme will be coordinated at ICS level.

What's not in scope?

Please be aware that no funding will go directly to technology vendors.

If you are a private organisation or an organisation not registered or recognised from the eligible applicant list above, you are ineligible unless you can demonstrate otherwise.

The following will not be funded.

  • Basic IT infrastructure upgrades or other preliminary work necessary to the project.
  • Associated hardware, such as iPads.
  • Related software systems or functionality, such as human resource systems.
  • Costs not directly related to the implementation or development of new software systems, functionality or interoperability to improve its meaningful use.
  • Projects which do not impact upon the optimisation of the health and care workforce.
  • Projects which do not align with The Future of Healthcare: Our Vision for Digital Data and Technology in Health and Care.
  • Trivial purchases that are a follow-on from the initial project scope.

Eligibility for participation

We expect that applicants are capable of matched funding. This is to ensure sustainability of future tech funding as well as local ownership and accountability for project success. Matched funding principles are applied over the whole life of a programme. This can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances where possible, for example, funding may include a different mix of revenue and capital in different years.

To ensure no providers are left behind by the barrier of match funding, consideration will be given based on individual circumstances. This is because we understand that some providers can be financially challenged but are still capable of delivering a highly successful programme.

For you to have a successful bid, it is important to demonstrate digital leadership at board level, clinical support, financial self-sufficiency and a willingness to transform through digital technology.

We expect that providers will adhere to procurement regulations and compete fairly and transparently in the open market.

Your implementation plans would need to consider the cyber implication for any new development. In particular, this may include data protection risks and opportunities arising from technology. As a priority, you will also need to consider how personal and business data is collected, stored and transmitted, including appropriate controls to manage risk in line with General Data Protection Regulation. In addition, compliance with other technical requirements and relevant regulations and standards related to each technology is necessary.

If your bid is successful, we expect you to actively support the learning ecosystem, working collaboratively with the digital productivity programme and other providers to share lessons, capture learning in a structured manner. For example, this would include: blueprinting, being open and transparent about risks and opportunities, supporting proactive communications and celebrating impacts.

Principally as minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must:

  • be able to demonstrate productivity impact, effectiveness and sustainability of investment
  • have not been in receipt of previous national funding for similar initiatives
  • have a clear and coherent delivery plan for maximising the opportunities of the technologies
  • can demonstrate digital capability for such technologies
  • demonstrate awareness and compliance with technical requirements and safety element of the technology
  • demonstrate financial sustainability to continue the operations of the technology post financial year 2021.

Applicants are expected to ensure their proposals are supported by high quality quotes in preparation of the subsequent procurement exercise, if successful. If developing new functionality, organisations will consider the relevance of intellectual property licensing and how the wider NHS will benefit from the product, such as through ensuring NHS developed functionality is made open source.

Bids will be objectively assessed against vendor-neutral application criteria, based upon the value of the project, organisational capability and project readiness.

Prioritisation of funding

We will prioritise funding based on the criteria developed for the award.

Digital pharmacy, optometry, dental, ambulance and community (PODAC): Applicant information

Closing date

Please note that this fund is now closed as of 11.59pm on 7 October 2021. If you have any further questions regarding this fund, please contact utf@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £2.5 million and revenue funding of £500,000 for the ambulance sector. Capital funding of £2.5 million and revenue funding of £500,000 for the community sector.

Total available per applicant

Applicants may bid up to £500,000 capital and up to a maximum of £100,000 revenue per application.

Eligible applicants

  • NHSEI regions
  • CCGs
  • ICSs
  • Ambulance trusts
  • CCGs commissioned community health service providers
  • Community of interest company or social enterprise providing community care NHS services

Context and purpose

To have collaborative service transformation requires all parts of the NHS to have the appropriate systems and support they need in order to play their part. We appreciate that this is not currently the case. Whilst some sectors have implemented world leading systems and workflows, others remain largely paper based.

This digital variability presents a fundamental challenge to the viability of service transformation across systems. Currently, it is not possible for patients to have joined up care when a range of key sectors are digitally immature and therefore prevent interoperability.

For ambulance, community, dental, optometry and community pharmacy services, there have been elements of digital progress over the past 20 years. However, progress in all five of these areas has typically been slow and unsystematic. Too often, solutions have either not been provided at all or have lacked specificity by not meeting the basic requirements of these sectors.

Supporting all providers within the ambulance, community, dental, optometry and community pharmacy services to reach a baseline level of digital maturity is fundamental to enable changes in the way that care is delivered.

For this financial year we are focused on targeting support and investment to improve digital maturity of the ambulance and community sectors. This work will support the long term vision for these services, where staff and patients no longer experience a disparity in digital services between ambulance and community sectors in comparison to the acute sector.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

For the community sector we will support projects that:

  • optimise and increase the take up of EPRs and scheduling technologies across community services
  • use technology to increase remote access to EPR and other relevant applications
  • increase usability of interfaces to support the electronic capture of clinical activity across community based systems including cloud-based EPR solutions
  • increase patient access to appointment and booking systems to allow self-management
  • develop or enhance interfaces for data exchange between community provider systems and local shared care record systems and other platforms

For the ambulance sector we will support projects that:

  • align, design and build on existing integrated ambulance data architecture, working with ICSs across their geographical footprint:
  • using a service oriented architecture which translates data and user functionality; or
  • defining interfaces for data exchange between the ambulance architecture and local shared care record systems and other platforms
  • integrate future capabilities and solutions, including on-board point of care diagnostics and monitoring tools, bookings and referrals with fleet and control room capabilities
  • support local ambulance trusts to improve and standardise infrastructure resilience, enabling robust cybersecurity, failover and demand surge management

What's not in scope?

We will not fund technology vendors directly.

Eligibility for participation

If you wish to apply, we ask that you:

  • have trust Chief Information Officer (CIO) endorsement
  • name a nominated organisation executive board member to act as the senior responsible owner
  • have a clear and coherent delivery plan for maximising the opportunities of the technologies within four weeks of a successful bid
  • demonstrate your bid supports the current and future efforts towards frontline digitisation, to enabling integrated care and system working
  • ensure it benefits the provision of community services and available to NHS commissioned providers of community services. This is for community sector bids only.

For bids submitted at CCG, ICS or regional levels, you need to ensure constituent ambulance and community organisations fully support the proposal.

Matched funding by the applicant organisation is not essential.

If your bid is successful, we expect you to contribute to communities of practice and share use case blueprints, lessons and benefits; and that funding is spent by March 2022.

Additional support available

NHSX ambulance and community senior programme leads are available to provide pre-submission advice and guidance. They can provide information on national policy initiatives, signpost to evidence and access to national networks and collaboratives. If you have any questions or would like to discuss the process further, please email digital.podac@nhsx.nhs.uk.

Prioritisation of funding

NHSX will prioritise bids that:

  • develop greater interoperability across the five PODAC sectors
  • increase communications and productivity enabling technology, across ambulance and community sectors
  • increase the use of referral and image transfer capabilities, to enable better access to clinical information

Diagnostics: Applicant information

Closing date

11.59pm on 31 August 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £248 million.

Total available per applicant

Based on individual needs.

Eligible applicants

This fund is only open to imaging and pathology networks

Context and purpose

In paragraph 5.28 of the LTP a number of commitments have been outlined which relate to diagnostic services. In addition, the independent report, Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal, reiterates the key role of imaging and pathology networks, outlining that “Improving connectivity and digitisation across all aspects of diagnostics should be prioritised to drive efficiency, deliver seamless care across traditional boundaries and facilitate remote reporting.”

Recent operational experiences throughout the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the additional service resilience afforded by diagnostic networks, digital interoperability and the importance of enabling remote working, including working from home. The UK’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy (2017) highlights that “the full digitisation of pathology opens up the opportunity to create artificial intelligence (AI) based algorithms that could provide insights not currently available through conventional methodology”. Diagnostic imaging is at the forefront of development of clinical AI tools, with several imaging AI apps undergoing stage 4 evaluation supported by the NHSX AI in Health & Care Award. To exploit the opportunities afforded by AI, the core digital infrastructure needs to be in place.

The aims of our 2021 to 2022 investment funds targeted at diagnostics are to provide a rapid acceleration in implementation of our key policy objectives. This will be achieved by enabling pathology and imaging networks to invest in the essential digital infrastructure to deliver against the LTP commitments and Richards’ Review recommendations and take advantage of AI technologies as they achieve regulatory approval and clinical validation.

A portfolio of initiatives is being established to improve and transform diagnostic services. These include, the planned formation of community diagnostic hubs, diagnostic service networks, imaging equipment capacity and replacement, diagnostic workforce expansion and increasing capacity through independent healthcare providers. To underpin these programmes, facilitate service redesign and transformation of diagnostic capability for producing sustainable services requires a digital technology platform capable of providing timely access to high quality standard data at the point of need.

Our programme will build on the COVID-19 laboratory information management systems (LIMS) enhancement initiative, which was launched in direct response to the 2020 pandemic. We provided £40 million in funding in 2020 to 2021 and £20 million has been allocated for 2021 to 2022 to ensure connectivity for orders and results across the networks. This will improve resilience, responsiveness and productivity in the management of COVID-19 testing and improve workflow management across both hot and cold sites.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

Key objectives of the programme are:

  • to increase system capacity and resilience of diagnostic services through enhanced digital capability
  • to level up access to diagnostic services across the NHS through the development of digital histopathology and diagnostic imaging capability
  • to improve safety and experience for patients and NHS staff, by reducing manual processes and turnaround times and enabling flexible working

The areas which are in scope for the investment programme are:

  • imaging network infrastructure to enable image-sharing and shared reporting worklists across all constituent member organisations within imaging networks
  • infrastructure and equipment to enable home reporting of diagnostic imaging. Imaging networks will aim to provide this capability to all reporters such as Consultant Radiologists, Reporting Radiographers and specialist trainees in radiology
  • digital pathology hardware and software to enable full digitisation of histopathology services within Pathology Networks, and interoperability between Pathology Networks to enable digital image transfer for sub-specialist opinion, and second opinions
  • LIMS replacement: investment in enterprise-wide LIMS solutions at pathology network level to ensure full operational interoperability between laboratories within a pathology network and between pathology networks, seamless flow of patient results into the health and care record, and provision of capacity and demand load balancing capability to support operational service delivery

What's not in scope?

Submitted bids that are not part of a pathology or imaging network proposal will not be considered.

Funding is not available for departmental systems such as ophthalmology, dermatology application software, but infrastructure that may be shared across specialties will be considered.

Eligibility for participation

If you are applying from an imaging or pathology network we ask that you have full support from an NHS trust, ICS and regional leadership teams and alignment with priorities locally, regionally and nationally.

NHS trusts will be eligible to receive funding for proposals that deliver the core outcomes, and have been incorporated into the regional submissions.

Your investment initiatives will need to align with the Secretary of State’s Technology Vision with national interoperability standards designed to enable the effective sharing of data across care settings. This includes the use of compliance with national data sets, international image standards, open standards and application programming interfaces to enable sharing of elements of the care record.

Your investment initiatives will need to work towards the key interoperability priorities, for which nationally published specifications will be provided.

  • Sharing of structured data and schedules.
  • Sharing of structured diagnostics information.
  • Use of the NHS number at the point of care.
  • The use of a consistent set of terminology and diagnostic codes.

Funding is only available initially to be spent on items that can be classified as capital expenditure according to your local accounting rules. Funding awards can be spent on hardware, software, infrastructure, and costs associated with project management, implementation, and business change, to the extent that these costs can be capitalised.

If you are an NHS organisation who receives capital investment, you must own any assets procured with the funding and will be responsible for any consequential costs arising from their award and any ongoing costs arising from the initial investment. Such costs may include capital charges and depreciation. Funding awards cannot be used to cover such costs. Matched funding is not a requirement for this fund, however, submitted bids that contain matched funding will be considered.

Successful bids will align to a declared long term digital investment roadmap that will underpin the increasing maturity of a diagnostic network to deliver the Diagnostics: Recovery and Renewal review, LTP and, COVID-19 recovery objectives.

Agreement on funding will be determined through a collaboration of NHSEI national, NHSEI regional, ICS, diagnostic network and subject matter experts from professional bodies to ensure there is service alignment, likelihood of success is optimised and approaches are shared to reduce variability.

Additional support available

Market management and commercial services are available to support bidding teams to engage with suppliers to improve relationships, performance and authority obligations through a strategic relationship management approach. This will further an open competitive diagnostics market.

The clinical informatics and quality improvement to support benefits realisation, and optimisation.

Subject matter expert advice is also available on proposed solutions, including guidance from exemplars such as PathLake and the Northern Pathology Imaging Co-operative. There will also be mechanisms for you to capture and share learning, to accelerate safe and effective adoption and embedding of digital capability.

Written technical guidance, case studies and exemplar documents are available through the national imaging transformation programme site on NHS Futures.

Prioritisation of funding

Proposals that are compatible with the ongoing development of diagnostic services including imaging and pathology service networks.

Eligible projects must be deliverable within a year and organisational readiness, including network maturity will also drive prioritisation. Projects that are over a longer time period such as 3 years, will be considered but applicants must be aware that funding for years 2 and 3 is not guaranteed.

Bids will look to deliver initiatives which directly support the response and recovery requirements from the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Priority will be given to submissions that deliver the core outcomes of interoperability and integration. To deliver workload balancing and data accessibility over the widest areas while offering value through reduction in cost per tests or examinations and potentially deliver increased efficiency and patient safety.

For imaging networks, the areas of focus for 2021 to 2022 will be:

  • establishing real-time digital image sharing capability across an imaging network to achieve shared reporting worklists
  • enabling home reporting capability for all digital radiology reporters

For pathology networks, the areas of focus for 2021 to 2022 will be:

  • digitising histopathology with slide scanning and clinical application software, plus intra network and network to network interoperability
  • investment in enterprise-wide LIMS solutions to enable end-to-end interoperability, automation and pathology service capacity and demand load-balancing

Elective recovery technology fund: Applicant information

For this fund only, given that it is part of a wider NHS Targeted Investment Fund to support elective recovery, applications are to be submitted through an NHS region convened process and not through the usual Unified Tech Fund application form.

Closing date

11.59pm on 29 October 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £250 million.

Total available per applicant

Funding has been allocated to NHS regions on a fair share basis to invest in local NHS plans for digital innovation that support elective recovery and reduce the number of people waiting for planned care. All NHS partners will already be engaged in the development and submission of plans through the regionally led planning process.

For the elective recovery technology fund (ERTF), the allocation to each region (rounded to the nearest million pounds) is as follows.

  • £40 million for North East and Yorkshire
  • £35 million for North West
  • £47 million for Midlands
  • £28 million for East
  • £37 million for South East
  • £25 million for South West
  • £39 million for London

Eligible applicants

  • NHSEI regions on behalf of their ICSs

Context and purpose

The Elective Recovery Technology Fund (ERTF) is a part of the 2021/2022 targeted investment fund (TIF) announced as part of the H2 NHS Planning Guidance. The TIF is a flexible £700 million fund comprising capital and revenue funding which has been established as part of the Government’s ‘Build Back Better Plan’ for health and social care. Within the TIF, £250 million has been allocated to the ERTF, and is exclusively for digital technology that will enable elective recovery.

The ERTF is for implementing digital solutions that will make a real difference to elective recovery; including systems that support home preoperative assessment and patient initiated follow up, digital tools that provide an alternative to referral, those that support those on waiting lists to do so actively and optimise, thereby increasing the likelihood of good outcomes and fewer complications, solutions that can reduce length of stay and support early discharge through remote home monitoring, robotic process automation to speed up routine tasks that support improved clinical flow, digital home testing to avoid on day cancellations and operational data to provide real time information and tracking.

The fund can also be used to support the essential implementation support and project team costs, in order to support pathway change, where these are capitalisable, and likewise multi year licence commitments can also often be capitalised. There is more detail on this below.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

Due to the required pace and necessary alignment of digital schemes with the wider investment set out in the TIF, the ERTF will be allocated through regional teams. Each region is expected to coordinate the development of plans to allocate funding in partnership

with ICSs.

Plans submitted for funding must be in line with the NHS Long Term Plan and the H2 National NHS Planning guidance. Plans must underpin the elective recovery arrangements in place in each integrated care system. The fund is also intended to reduce inequalities experienced across the elective pathway.

Regions and ICSs are encouraged to align approaches and pursue collaborative agreements where possible. This may include scaling solutions that have been successful within a single provider across an ICS or collectively procuring a common solution for multiple ICSs or regions where no current digitally enabled solution exists.

The ERTF will be targeted on the following proven productivity enhancing initiatives:

  • Evidenced digital solutions that support people at home on alternative care pathways such as establishing digital offers for those patients in need of support with their mental health or pain management avoiding the need for hospital based care.
  • Digital tools that help with active waiting and self management including supporting increased activity, weight loss and smoking cessation.
  • Home based pre-surgical support including virtual surgery schools, patient information packages, digital pre-assessment, digitally enabled preoperative rehabilitation and consenting.
  • Digital tools and operational data that support the deployment of enhanced recovery after surgery approach, leading to improved patient outcomes, faster patient recovery, shorter patient stays and reduced post surgical complications.
  • Patient facing tools for communication, including patient held records that enable patients to select when/if they want a follow-up appointment (digitally-enabled personalised follow-up), staff to provide guided self-management, and asynchronous clinical triage supported by a patient self-assessment.
  • Deployment of robotic process automation to reduce the administrative burden on staff and improve the efficiency of clinical processes.
  • Real time operational data or population health management tools that help systems to visualise performance to best balance capacity and demand, reducing waiting times as rapidly as possible.
  • Use of digital innovations that support early discharge and home rehabilitation, including virtual wards and remote monitoring licences.
  • Other digital tools that present a clear benefit to productivity or access to health care, such as ENT devices and ophthalmology image sharing solutions

While the ERTF is a capital allocation, it can be used for software licence costs in the instance where a multi-year contract is entered into and fully paid up front. Each organisation will need to ensure compliance with local accounting and procurement policies. The ERTF can also be used for implementation support costs where these costs are directly attributable to bringing an asset to use. Good implementation support makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful change project. We recommend that systems should typically allocate around 20% of product cost in change support.

What's not in scope?

Where there are requirements for investment in areas outside of the listed categories, systems are encouraged to explore alternative funding routes that are available either through the other capital component of the TIF worth £250 million or through other programmes within the NHSX Unified Tech Fund.

Eligibility for participation

Plans that are submitted through the regional process must adhere to the following principles.

  • The capital will be provided as public dividend capital.
  • Investment proposals must have a material impact on elective activity or demand management either in 2021 to 2022 or future years.
  • All proposals must have the support of the relevant ICS chief executive.
  • The funding needs to align and enable levelling up across the ICS to the What Good Looks Like framework for digital transformation.
  • The funding must be used to support one of the productivity enhancing initiatives detailed in the scope of the fund.
  • Products must be purchased using a compliant commercial route where one is available.
  • Plans must be focused on the deployment of well evidenced technology innovations.
  • The funding is not required to be match funded by organisations.

Additional support available

We held a workshop for NHS partners on 4 October 2021. The recording and slide pack from the workshop are below.

Workshop recording and slides

Watch a recording of the workshop.

Dowload the workshop slides. (PFD, 1.7MB)

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email dnhsx@nhsx.nhs.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

To provide a better understanding of how digital can help in different specialties, our digital playbooks present a host of case studies of well evidenced technology innovations. There is an elective care task force within the NHSX Chief Digital Officer team, which is available to help support the development of plans to request funding, for more information please email dnhsx@nhsx.nhs.uk.

You can find further information in the Innovation Collaborative for Digital Health workspace on the FutureNHS site. Resources on that site include case studies of digital virtual wards and other useful information for completing benefits cases and developing bids. If you work for the NHS or social care and are not yet a member of this community please email us at innovationcollaborative-manager@future.nhs.uk and we will send you a joining link.

Prioritisation of funding

The proposals that will be prioritised for this fund are those which use proven technology to deliver a material impact on planned care activity or demand management in either 2021 to 2022 or in future years, as summarised in the Purpose section above and outlined in the categories listed in the scope of fund section.

Governance and assurance

Submission and consideration of plans for the use of the ERTF will operate as part of the wider TIF planning process. Each Region will work with ICSs and local providers to propose, by 7 October, a shortlist of targeted investments that comply with the criteria set out above.

We are adopting a streamlined business case approvals process. Regions will be asked to complete a short form business case template for all proposals in their region. Section 5 of this TIF planning template will need to be completed for all schemes involving the £250m ERTF and submitted through regions no later than 29 October 2021.

As part of the submission, plans must clearly set out:

  • the proposed costs and benefits
  • the process of monitoring and evaluation
  • a commitment and process of ensuring sustainability following the end of national funding
  • An outline of each project

If proposals have a capital value above £5 million then the following additional information will be required:

  • For proposals with a value between £5 million and £15 million, a summary of the 5-case model (replacing the outline business case and full business case) and a value for money template.
  • For proposals with a value of £15 million and above, a summary of the 5-case model (replacing the outline business case and full business case) and comprehensive investment appraisal model.
  • Any proposals of £50 million or above will be subject to HM Treasury approval.

When submitting plans to request funding, applicants will be required to:

  • provide monthly reports on uptake, delivery and reach
  • participate in the evaluation and specifically ensure relevant data is shared in a timely fashion with evaluators including NHSX, NHSEI and NHS Digital as well as evaluation partners
  • contribute to overall learning and uptake across the NHS by sharing findings and supporting others through the Improvement Collaborative and other methods

We also expect that lead organisations will undertake equity impact assessments as part of the planning and deployment process and ensure patient, public and clinician engagement and involvement is built in from the start of the planning process.

Each region will have a named digital lead who will lead on the technology element of the investments. NHSX will also provide a point of contact for each region to support their process and sit on the Regional Approvals Board.

Digital maternity: Applicant information

Closing date

11.59pm on 14 November 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £25.1 million and revenue funding of £26.9 million.

Total available per applicant

Funding will be allocated on a regional basis. Funding within the region will be assessed on demonstration of alignment with the programme objectives.

Eligible applicants

  • Local maternity and neonatal systems (LMNS)
  • Individual NHS trusts or combined
  • LMNS or an individual NHS trust in partnership with either ICSs, CCGs or regional digital leads

Context and purpose

Focusing on safety, efficiency and experience, NHSX Digital Child Health and Maternity (DCHM) will improve the quality of care for women and pregnant people and reduce the burden on frontline healthcare providers.

The National Maternity Review, Better Births, emphasised the importance of data sharing to ensure the whole system delivers coordinated across care from different providers such as midwives, general practitioners (GPs) and obstetricians who are likely to be operating in different locations and deploying different electronic records solutions. The development of this interoperability is a key aspiration of the digital maternity programme.

The programme will deliver the following objectives:

  • Supporting the development of a digital maternity healthcare record, accessible by women and pregnant people, authorized health and social care professionals and others granted permission by the pregnant person.
  • Signposted, curated healthcare information.
  • An interoperable suite of supplier solutions capable of sharing a core dataset data, with supporting curated information for women and pregnant people across all service providers.

In order for women and pregnant people to have visibility of their data, or supporting information and the ability to interact with it, the following need to be in place:

  • Digital leadership and a maternity digital strategy. A board executive must be identified who will provide support and will be responsible for the delivery of stated outcomes.
  • Digital maternity plan within each provider or LMNS.
  • A standalone or enterprise EPR system, that supports clinical maternity operations and that is fully interoperable between differing platforms, aligned with national standards and interconnected with the NHS digital infrastructure backbone.
  • Standardised digital architecture to facilitate access to all required data in a secure manner to those authorised to view and interact with that data.
  • Data collected must conform to the Information Standards Notice for Digital Maternity Record Standard (DMRS DCB3066) and Maternity Services Data Set (MSDS DCB 1513) and enable both secondary reporting & eliminating the burden of having to re-enter information across different systems.
  • A means to ensure the service is resilient, managed, monitored and responsive to changing needs. Data sharing to ensure the whole system supports coordinated care from different providers such as midwives, GPs and obstetricians operating in different locations and deploying different electronic records solutions.

Current landscape

Digital maturity of maternity systems nationally is variable. In July 2021, a digital maturity assessment (DMA) assessed the current landscape to understand the scale of change required to meet the intended outcomes.

Across the 14 sections, a number of questions were relevant to the NHSX What Good Looks Like framework (WGLL) published in September 2021. WGLL draws on local learning and builds on established good practice to provide clear guidance to digitise, connect and transform services safely, securely and efficiently.

A classification for the digital maturity of maternity services has been created to articulate relative maturity, potential needs to achieve programme goals and a mechanism to provide guidance as part of the disbursal of funding. Qualitative and quantitative assessment through the DMA demonstrates three broad classifications, early adopters, fast followers and maternity digital aspirants.

Early adopters

Organisations with significant digital maturity within the maternity landscape. Early Adopters are organisations that have a digital strategy, incorporating maternity services, and the organisational support and accountability at board executive level, to implement digital change at pace. A pre-existing maternity system with an aspiration to share data across an LMNS would represent an example of this. Early adopters may adopt digital innovation at pace.

Fast followers

Organisations that are in the process of meeting early adopter criteria. Fast followers will have longer lead times. They may be in the process of buying new systems, in the early stages of a procurement or purchasing a new system, but need additional equipment or hardware for rolling out. This may include partially deployed systems that require development of digital leadership and support.

Maternity Digital Aspirants

Organisations that have yet to reach the majority of the measures as stated in the WGLL framework. These organisations are not ready for rapid digital transformation and require significant baseline investment. Proposals from these organisations might include partnering with more mature organisations to develop their digital strategies, cultures and identify any potential early digital opportunities.

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

It is anticipated that funding will be targeted to raise the digital maturity of a maternity service within an organisation, supporting those at a lower level of maturity such as fast followers to reach the next step of early adopters. An organisation can apply for the following bidding pots to support the delivery of the following outcomes.

Lot 1: Developing interoperability

Focusing or applications should be on the following:

  • Delivering interoperability to enable maternity services to join up and share records. Joining trusts up with other services so that they interconnect with each other, such as birthing centres and community midwives. Integration of new maternity systems and Trust wide EPR systems to support maternity services.
  • Providing people with the right tools, such as interoperable connectivity between systems and settings, to access information and services directly, irrespective of geographic location, service or system used.
  • Enabling the appropriate sharing of clinical information regardless of the service, system used or geographical boundaries to support the safe delivery of care.
  • Unifying pregnant people’s records. Shared information reduces duplication with visibility across the local health economy. Utilising tools to empower pregnant people to have a voice within their journey and participate in shared decision making.
  • Reducing the administrative burden on clinicians so they can focus on delivering high quality care.

Lot 2: Establishing infrastructure

Focus of applications should be on establishing infrastructure through purchasing the hardware for the maternity system. This can be in the form of servers, tablets, PCs or networking and connectivity to provide healthcare professionals the tools to access information and services directly wherever they are working.

Lot 3: Procurement of a maternity information solution

Applications should support:

  • buying or upgrading maternity information solutions such as fetal growth charts, fundal height charts, electronic patient notes and cardiotocography archiving
  • ensuring clinical information can be safely accessed, wherever it is needed
  • a collaborative roll out across the local region, to support a seamless maternity pathway for pregnant people and professionals (Joint LMNS working)
  • financial efficiencies. Improving efficiency and productivity saving clinicians' time

Lot 4: Improving the quality of data 

Applications should enable delivery of:

  • capturing data in a standardised format that reflects the Digital Maternity Record Standard endorsed through a information standards notice (ISN)
  • capture of standardised data to improve the quality of data reporting and subsequent earlier recognition of safety issues
  • systems that support digital data flow alongside safe maternity clinical care pathways
  • augmenting systems that support seamless data analytics to support monitoring of performance, safety and activity through a dashboard. Submitting this data to the MSDS
  • improving NHS productivity and efficiency with digital technology

Lot 5: Innovations within maternity

Applications should focus on:

  • delivering access to a person’s personal maternity record online
  • supporting new ways of working using digital technology to generate efficiencies and service improvement
  • supporting trusts who wish to work collaboratively with other trusts to address issues or improvements such as interoperability, whilst maintaining different MIS suppliers

Lot 6: Development of digital leadership

Applications should provide support with:

  • development of digital leadership to create the foundations to facilitate digital innovation
  • digital education and training of workforce
  • programme management coordination, business analyst resource
  • resources for innovative co-design projects with staff and maternity voices partnership
  • business cases and framework process as well as digital strategy

What's not in scope?

Technology vendors will not be funded directly as this fund is for NHS maternity services only.

Eligibility for participation

This fund is only available for NHS maternity services.

Where capital is available, submissions will need to nominate a trust for, and on behalf of the local system and that will be responsible for the ongoing cost of capital charge.

For an application to be successful, there must be at least one specific named, accountable board-level executive sponsor for the programme. Successful organisations will be subject to a contractual agreement. Application will need to declare how the funds are to be spent, and define the outcomes that will be measured. Metrics and deliverables will be agreed and finalised dependent on the individual bid.

Investments will be made in organisations that can demonstrate their need for funding to enable levelling up of digital maturity to support local digital maternity transformation. Organisations must also have a well defined maternity digital strategy and a coherent delivery plan with demonstrable clinical support. If this process is still in inception, a bid may include funding to support the development of the strategy but must include a commitment to hiring or training dedicated digital leadership within a specified timeframe. Milestones for this must be outlined in the application.

Organisations will be expected to follow the appropriate business case approvals process.

The Unified Tech Fund will not accept duplicate bids such as an LMNS and trust applying for the same hardware.

​​Organisations submitting successful bids will be expected to actively support the learning ecosystem. Working collaboratively with the DCHM programme and other providers to share lessons and capture learning in a structured manner. This would include blueprinting, being open and transparent about risks and opportunities, supporting proactive communications and celebrating impacts.

For any queries you may have in relation to this funding or the application process, please email england.digitalmaternitynhsx@nhs.net.

Prioritisation of funding

This funding is intended to support the delivery of the foundations required to facilitate rapid digital transformation within maternity services. Bids therefore, will be scored based on leadership, strategic alignment, impact and approach in addition to the domains of the What Good Looks Like framework.

The primary goals are delivery of:

  • an improved user experience - citizen and professional
  • an enhanced safety profile
  • increased service efficiencies
  • improved service and population intelligence

Applications and subsequent funding will be assessed on demonstration of alignment with the programme objectives.

A main finding of the DMA for maternity systems was the strong association between digital leadership and digital maturity. As such, submissions that encourage culture change that delivers strengthened digital leadership to promote a sustainable and effective change within a broader service transformation plan for maternity services will be prioritised.

Digitising social care programme - Application information

Closing date

11.59pm on 5 November 2021.

Total funding for 2021 to 2022 available to the system

Capital funding of £5.5 million and revenue funding of £2.7 million.

Total available per applicant

Applicants may bid up to £457,000 capital and up to a maximum of £222,500 revenue per application.

Eligible applicants

  • Individual ICSs
  • Collaboratives of ICSs

Context and purpose

Approximately 30% of social care providers are partially digitised, with a further 30% still using entirely paper based systems. Digital transformation can dramatically improve the quality and safety of care, with real time data integrated into the NHS. This ensures people receive the right care, at the right time, and the right people have access to the information they need. The use of innovative care technologies, such as acoustic monitoring, could reduce falls in care homes by 20% or more, importantly, these falls cost the NHS over £2 billion a year.

In 2021 to 2022, NHSX are working to support social care providers to adopt Digital Social Care Records (DSCR), which improve productivity and access to data, whilst piloting other care technologies. This programme has the overarching aim of significantly increasing digitisation within social care by supporting the adoption of care technologies that will enhance the quality, safety and efficiency of social care. The programme will focus on technologies that improve access to information and support remote care such as DSCR and acoustic monitoring solutions.

The programme will pilot digital social care technology with ICSs to build an evidence base for their impact, develop implementation guidance and assure supplier solutions.The programme will then support ICSs to scale up the solutions that have the biggest impact.

The initial priority areas are:

  • to ensure that all care providers have access to the necessary infrastructure that they need to enable digital care including access to high speed connectivity and devices
  • fall prevention technologies, such as acoustic monitoring, that can reduce frequency and severity cutting hospital admissions, length of stay in hospital and the need for long term care
  • DSCR that ensures data is captured at the point of care, provides access to appropriate NHS data and supports transfer of data between care settings, resulting in less repetition of information that can lead to errors and improving productivity

Scope of fund

What's in scope?

Bids can come from all ICSs including those already working with the DSCR Programme that may wish to bid for additional funding to support them to deliver or scale their programmes (such as purchasing of hardware, license costs). We will invest in:

  • assured digital social care records
  • caretech supporting falls prevention such as acoustic monitoring
  • enabling digital infrastructure such as new networks, security, wifi, cloud data storage and end user devices

What's not in scope?

This fund is to support digitisation of social care. We will not fund technology vendors directly.

Eligibility for participation

The digitising social care fund is seeking proposals from individual ICSs to deliver digital social care records or technologies supporting the falls prevention agenda.

Where we are making capital available, this will need to be taken by an appropriate nominated corporate body, such as an NHS trust or trust consortia, for and on behalf of the local ICSs. If successful, you will also be responsible for coordinating the consequent revenue implications of servicing that capital funding.

As part of your application, we require that you provide the name and contact details of an agreed local authority lead and social care lead for your programme. These individuals are expected to represent the interests of the local authorities and the independent care sector respectively. Both leads are expected to be involved in co-developing this bid and should be proactively involved throughout the lifecycle of the programme. Within your application you may also want to include how you will leverage existing partnerships, forums or governance arrangements to ensure that the voice of local authorities and the independent care providers are heard throughout the delivery of the programme.

We expect that applicants are capable of matched funding. This is to ensure sustainability of future tech funding as well as local ownership and accountability for programme success. Matched funding principles can be applied over the whole lifecycle of a programme. They can be tailored to suit your individual circumstances where possible, for example, funding may include a different mix of revenue and capital in different years. If you are planning to spend the money to recruit additional resources or procure external resources then please briefly indicate your plans for doing so.

To ensure no systems are left behind by the barrier of matched funding, consideration will be given based on individual circumstances. This is because we understand that some systems will be financially challenged but are still capable of delivering a highly successful programme.

For you to have a successful bid, it is important to demonstrate digital leadership at board level, clinical support, financial self-sufficiency and a willingness to deliver change.

We expect a clear commitment to working in partnership with local authorities and the care sector. Please also include the number of care providers that you are hoping to support to implement a digital social care record or falls prevention caretech, as well as how this may align with other streams of work where possible.

We expect that providers will adhere to procurement regulations and compete fairly and transparently in the open market

Applications must provide a clear and coherent delivery plan. In order to do so, you may find it helpful to structure your response by articulating a clear logic model that supports delivery against your programme objectives. Your response should include the objectives, outcomes and outputs of your programme and an indication of the resources that are required to deliver the programme of work.

Your implementation plans would need to consider the cyber implication for any new development. In particular, this may include data protection risks and opportunities arising from technology. As a priority, you will also need to consider how personal and business data is collected, stored and transmitted, including appropriate controls to manage risk in line with General Data Protection Regulation.

If your bid is successful, we expect you to actively support the learning ecosystem, working collaboratively with the digitising social care programme and other providers to share lessons, capture learning in a structured manner. For example, this would include blueprinting, being open and transparent about risks and opportunities, supporting proactive communications and celebrating impacts.

Prioritisation of funding

Investment will be prioritised to ICSs for the following:

  • Acceleration of the adoption of digital social care record solutions.
  • Implementing or scaling falls prevention technology, such as acoustic monitoring.
  • Committing to partnership working with local authorities and the independent care sector.
  • Working in partnership with the digitising social care programme.

We will also look to prioritise proposals that provide a detailed understanding of how this programme will compliment elements of your wider strategy for social care digital transformation. For example, you may want to talk about how this work aligns with your approach to shared care records, remote monitoring and access to information. This information could include proxy access to GP records for medication ordering, NHSMail and the DSPT.

While it is not a prerequisite for funding, we are also keen to understand the work you have done to date to support social care digital transformation. In particular, this may include recent advancements in digital maturity in social care and any information you have about the current appetite for adopting digital social care records and implementation of caretech supporting falls prevention.

Governance and assurance

Assurance will be proportionate to the delivery risk and the investment value. Delivery will be managed against an agreed plan. Assurance processes include the following:

  • Periodic reporting and supporting the evaluation of the impact of different solutions.
  • Active risk management.
  • Local systems will be required to commit to the realisation of benefits. Those benefits, both cash releasing and non-cash releasing may be retained by local systems.
  • Assurance review before funding is released against delivery milestones.
  • ICSs will plan for the business transformation required to support their programme through deployment, stabilisation, and ongoing optimisation and this needs to be evident.
  • ICSs will also ensure they keep up to date with all the latest cyber security updates and guidance, and ensure that infrastructure is kept up to date to take advantage of the latest solutions and avoid vulnerabilities.
  • ICSs, where possible, will seek guidance from other digitally mature areas.
  • Intervention when necessary to stop investment until remedial action is taken and the chances of success are once more proven to be good.

History

14 September 2021: Summary of funds table added to executive summary

30 September: 2021: Elective recovery technology fund details added

6 October 2021: Details of webinar held on 4 October added

18 October 2021: Funds added: Cyber security remediation revenue and digitising social care. Fund updated: Digital maternity. Fund removed: Digital child health. Time of day added for each closing date. Frontline digitisation and Digital PODAC funds noted as now closed. Application form link updated.

25 October 2021: Digitising social care closing date extended to 5 November.

2 November 2021: Digital maternity closing date corrected to say 14 November

7 December 2021: Diagnostics closing date and total funding updated