Health August 16, 2019
Artificial intelligence development in the NHS to receive £250m boost

By News - World Healthcare Journal

The government has announced the third investment into the NHS last week, pledging to fund £250m into A.I. development.

Following the £1.8bn one-off investment into the NHS by the new Boris Johnson government, a further £250m cash boost to build a national A.I. development lab has been announced.

The facility will aim to develop new treatments for some of the biggest killers in the U.K, such as cancer, dementia, and heart disease, as well as researching new methods of data management and administration assistance to aid NHS systems.

Government officials are hoping that the impact of the national A.I. lab will be felt throughout the healthcare sector. A.I. has already made large improvements to health systems – especially in areas such as data analysis, diagnostic medicine, robotics and prosthetics – even the synthesis of new, highly effective vaccines.

The new lab is being developed under the NHSX scheme, the recently launched NHS initiative to improve digital incorporation and create new solutions to issues that are faced today through technology.

Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, has long been an advocate of digital development within the NHS and believes that the A.I. laboratory will bring about great innovation and provide better levels of care across the NHS, putting the NHS at the forefront of A.I. development within healthcare.

 “I am determined to bring the benefits of technology to patients and staff, so the impact of our NHS Long Term Plan and this immediate, multimillion-pound cash injection are felt by all. It’s part of our mission to make the NHS the best it can be,” he says.

“I want to see the tech revolution improving our health and care. Our NHS is our greatest national asset, and let’s make sure that it’s always the example for the whole world to follow. ”

However, the announcement has been met with wariness by some healthcare leaders. Whilst the development of A.I. and new technology has the potential to  hold massive benefits and enable care systems to achieve outcomes that would previously be impossible or unthinkable, it is important to ensure that new A.I. is properly implemented and with the full support of clinical teams – as well as ensuring that the developments are necessary in the first place.

Adam Steventon, Director of Data Analytics at the Health Foundation, which works in the analysis and evaluation of care quality across the U.K, shared his thoughts on the A.I. lab last week.

"The proposed AI lab is a welcome investment in NHS analytics, and there is scope for this to support analytics right across the health system, including with local analytics teams if a collaborative approach is adopted. However, given the questions raised about other funding announcements this week, we will need to ensure there's clarity on where this money will come from and whether there may need to be trade-offs," he says.


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