According to NHS England’s director of operations and information, the UK treasury recently approved £385 million in central funding for the global digital exemplar (GDE) programme to become a blueprint in world-class digital technology for other trusts to follow. The NHS created the global digital exemplar (GDE) programme across the UK healthcare system in order to develop leaders in digital transformation and ensure the system remains sustainable through the use of high quality technology and information.
The flagship programme prioritises already advanced digital trusts to act as exemplars for those less digitally mature. The overarching goal for GDEs is to produce best practices and technical guidance for other trusts to follow in order to serve as a model for other trusts, and end the need for competitive public procurements. In doing so, clinicians will have more timely access to accurate information, and the ability to provide patients with better access to healthcare for all.
Sixteen GDE trusts were chosen to receive £10 million each, including: City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. In addition, seven mental health exemplars, including Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, will receive £5 million each, both funds that have to be matched locally.
The first wave of the “fast followers” were announced in March, with the second wave of digitally advanced NHS organisations announced earlier this month. Matthew Swindells, NHS England’s national director for operations and information, told the iLINKS conference on Wednesday, 5 July, that the GDE programme will lead to a change in the procurement model used by the NHS.
“At the core of the GDE model is the idea that we should be learning from each other. If the GDE and fast follower model goes well in the future, nobody will run procurements to buy IT systems again,” said Swindells.
While the fast followers will receive funding to drive towards being given digital global exemplar status, Swindells argued that this message should apply for all NHS organisations rather than just the exemplars. After all, the ability to deliver exceptional care will always remain a top priority for healthcare organizations around the world.