Funding to address digital inequalities across clinical pathways

Funding has been jointly established by the Health Inequalities Improvement Team and NHSX to support Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) who have an active interest in addressing digital equalities within their clinical pathways and have already done some thinking in this area.

There are 10 clinical areas of interest in this project: cancer, MSK, ophthalmology, COPD, maternity, dermatology, gastroenterology, mental health, hypertension and chronic respiratory disease. This work should also support the second health inequalities priority in the NHSEI operational planning guidance: "Mitigate against digital exclusion".

We are keen to ensure that these pathfinder initiatives are in line with any Menu of Interventions or High Impact Actions that are given bespoke to regional teams or ICSs if they exist.

Applications must involve at least one of these pathways and aim to address issues on digital equalities within the pathway.

£120,000 worth of funding and coaching from external organisations is available to help ICSs deliver on project objectives. This may include helping to undertake a gap analysis, plan or deliver user research or plan for next steps

Applications from interested ICSs can be submitted between 12 August to 17 September 2021.

Get involved and submit your application

The application form for the opportunity to receive funding to address digital inequality across pathways is available as a document that you can download and complete (ODT, 85 KB).

Once completed all forms must be returned by email to innovation.offers@nhsx.nhs.uk by 17 September 2021. Please include "Addressing digital inequalities across clinical pathways - Adoption Fund Application (insert your ICS name)" in the subject line.

If you have any queries prior to submission, please email innovation.offers@nhsx.nhs.uk and include the same process as above in the subject line.

Please ensure you have read the guidance criteria below to help prepare your application.

Guidance to support applications

Prerequisites to applying for funding

Applications from ICSs who have an active interest in addressing digital equalities within their clinical pathways and have already done some thinking in this area.

In line with the NHSE/I Health Inequalities programme, we are inviting projects that will address:

  • the "Core 20" (i.e. most deprived 20% of our population), and other population groups as identified by local population health data. e.g. ethnic minority communities,
  • and / or projects that focus on one or more of the following 10 clinical pathways:
    • Cancer detection
    • Respiratory illness (COPD)
    • CVD
    • Dermatology
    • Early diagnosis of Hypertension
    • Gastroenterology
    • Mental Health Checks
    • Maternity Care Pathways
    • MSK
    • Ophthalmology
Funding available

As a ‘pathfinder’, £120,000 worth of funding and coaching from external organisations is available to help ICSs deliver on project objectives. This may include helping to undertake a gap analysis, plan user research or plan for next steps.

Each ICS can apply for up to £20,000 each.

Funding must be spent on activities directly relevant to the delivery of your project objectives. If you would like to discuss your ideas before drafting / submitting your proposal please get in touch.

Expectations of the ICSs

As a pathfinder, each ICS would be:

  • offered funding (up to £20,000) and coaching from an external organisation to help deliver project objectives
  • invited to join a community of digital equality pathfinders, to discuss and share your learning and resources online every 4 to 6 weeks (frequency to be agreed)
  • expected to produce a case study at the end of the project, share useful resources via FutureNHS and take part in show and tell events to share learning as appropriate.

Our intention is to use a light-touch reporting approach (method to be agreed).

ICSs will be required to have live pathways to work on and the internal resource, commitment and desire to deliver your project by March 2022.

There are two key questions we want to explore and better understand via this project:

  • Question #1: Blockers / enablers: What are the enablers and blockers at an ICS level that support or hinder the design and delivery of digitally equitable pathways?
  • Question #2: Understanding / planning for change: What tools, knowledge and guidance do ICSs need (at the clinical pathway level) to understand where the issues are and then how to plan for change. This would help others ICSs answer practical and tangible questions such as: Where are our “problems”? What do we need to do? How do we do it? Where do we start? etc.
Application process

Applications to be submitted by ICSs need to show active engagement from your ICS partners, senior level buy-in and be willing to share your learning with others.

ICSs will have live pathways to work on and the internal resource, commitment and desire to deliver your project by March 2022

Scoring criteria

There are seven sections to complete, below is the scoring criteria.

Scoring criteria
Section % of total score Scoring criteria
Contact details 5% All required contact information is present. The project has a Senior Responsible Officer and Finance approver. All list of all participating organisations across the ICS is given.
Your project: a summary of your proposal 40% Relevant clinical pathways are identified. It is clear what the project is wanting to do and why, and some thought is given on what support the project may benefit from external / NHSX; there are clear benefits and an approach for evaluating these is offered; there is clear learning for others across the community; there is clear alignment with regional / national priorities.
Funding requested & procurement 20% Funding requested is within the limit. A clear breakdown of how the funding is to be used is present. Funding requested / spend represents Value for money.
Project plan, engagement plan and next steps? 20% Clear and sensible project and engagement plans are presented, key milestones are identified and the project is deliverable by March 2022. It is clear how the project will be sustained post-March 2022.
Conditions of participation 5% All conditions for participation are met
Governance 5% Clear and robust governance arrangements are presented. Local relationships are in place OR there is a clear plan to engage with these organisations / people.
Risks and mitigations 5% Key risks to delivery have been identified and mitigated.
Timescales

All applicants need to ensure that submissions are registered for consideration in line with the deadline dates set out below.

August 2021

  • Application process opens on 12 August

September 2021

  • Information webinars to be held on 7 September, 10-11 am - please email innovation.offers@nhsx.nhs.uk for more information
  • Application process closes on 17 September
  • Shortlisted applicants notified on 1 October 

October 2021

  • Final decision made and successful applicants informed on 8 October

March 2022

  • All funding spent
  • Case study produced (or in the process of of being drafted)