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November 2020
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The X factor: resolving national and local tensions in NHS IT

Jeremy Nettle

Industry veteran Jeremy Nettle reflects on a recent debate by the Highland Marketing advisory board on the role of national and local organisations in NHS IT policy, funding and implementation. Twenty-years of switching focus has created confusion and delay, he argues, and it’s time for a new model. 

I was interested to read that McKinsey has been hired to review the way that NHS England/Improvement, NHS Digital and NHSX work together. According to the Health Service Journal, Laura Wade-Gery has called in the consultants as part of a wider piece of work on how to drive digital transformation in health and care.

Readers were sceptical about the value of another review; and about the value of consultants doing it. But the question of who should be determining NHS IT policy, and who should be delivering health tech initiatives, is a pressing one. It was the subject of a debate by the Highland Marketing advisory board, which I chair, that concluded a new model is needed.

Adding complexity to a complex system

The relationship between national, regional and local leadership of NHS IT is complex, and it has taken a long time for it to become as complex as it has. This May, the National Audit Office pointed out that the health service has been trying to deploy technology for twenty years, and what it has been trying to achieve hasn’t changed all that much.

What has changed is the approach. We’ve gone from ‘let a thousand flowers bloom’ in the 1998 Information for Health strategy, to ‘command and control’ with the National Programme for IT, to attempts to find a ‘third way’, like the global digital exemplar programme, and reverted to central targets.

The three bodies that McKinsey is reportedly reviewing have their origins in these different approaches. Some of NHS Digital’s core functions date back to Information for Health, while NHS E/I came up with the GDE programme when Jeremy Hunt was health secretary, and NHSX arrived with his successor, Matt Hancock.

There is no doubt that they can get in the way of each other, and with the work that trusts and integrated care systems are trying to do on the ground. The Highland Marketing advisory board was given some interesting examples by the CIO of an ICS.

First, it was told that it couldn’t let GPs book hospital appointments from within an integrated care pathway, because it must use NHS Digital’s Choose and Book, which was set-up in a very different era of patient choice and acute-sector competition.

Then, it had to put its hospital-diversion projects on hold, to get an NHS E/I ‘talk before you walk’ service in place for A&E this winter; while finding the funds for ‘axe the fax’, which is not an immediate priority, and will eventually be addressed by creative use of an integrated digital care record.

Clarifying responsibilities and roles

If we are going to find a way through this complexity, we are going to need a return to first principles. What is the health and care system trying to do, who does it want to do it, what technology does it need, and who does it want to do that?

Ideally, that would mean clarifying the role of NHS E/I, its regional offices, and health and care systems, and it would mean defining policy and delivery in terms of outcomes, rather than processes or technologies, so organisations could do things in the way that works for them.

That, in itself, would go some way towards addressing the frustrations of our ICS leader, being told to implement a national policy with a specified technology (roll-out ‘talk before you walk’, use NHS 111) that doesn’t align with local priorities (create integrated care pathways, make the most of the developing IDCR).

However, the advisory board felt that it would also be useful to have a new NHS IT strategy, to articulate what kind of technology the health and care system is going to need, and a central body to drive it. Ideally, this body would be strong enough to push back against distracting initiatives (like ‘axe the fax’, again).

Or, at least, it should be able to ask what outcomes such initiatives are meant to achieve, where they sit in the priority list, and how they are going to be funded. Alongside a new NHS IT strategy, we felt the NHS should also revisit the idea of digital maturity.

New models are needed to enable the centre, healthcare economies and individual trusts to prioritise investment, assess progress, identify technology gaps, and work out where support is needed. On the last point, some of the ideas behind the GDE programme could also be revisited, and ‘federated’ models developed to enable trusts to pool budgets, learn from each other, and get a better deal from suppliers.

The x-factor

Our discussion reached a fair degree of consensus on what a more strategic, more stable approach to NHS IT would look like. It would leave policy making at a national level but encourage a focus on outcomes rather than processes or technologies.

It would create a new NHS IT strategy aligned to maturity models that could be used to measure progress and push back against ‘headline-grabbing’ or ‘soundbite’ culture. It would mean a new IT body to set strategy, measure progress, and advise the government. It would mean regional or federated support for local organisations that would otherwise be charged with delivery.

The McKinsey review may have concluded that some of this exists already. Clarifying the role of NHS E/I should be bread and butter to a management consultancy. The NHS E/I regional offices look well placed to take on at least some of the federated co-ordination and support role. ICSs are developing.

So, the big question may be: does the NHS need a new body to set strategy and measure maturity? Or, if this sounds a lot like what NHSX was set up to do: why isn’t it doing it, and how can we make sure that it can do it in the future?


Read a full report of the Highland Marketing advisory board discussion on 

Highland Marketing advisory board

Highland Marketing’s advisory board is: Jeremy Nettle, former global advisor for Health Sciences, Oracle Corporation; Cindy Fedell, former chief digital and information officer at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; Andy Kinnear, former director of digital transformation at NHS South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit; James Norman, healthcare CIO, EMEA, at DellEMC; Ravi Kumar, health tech entrepreneur and chair of ZANEC, and Andrena Logue, consultant, Experiential HealthTech.

Highland Marketing is an integrated communications, PR and marketing consultancy with an unrivalled reputation for supporting UK and international health tech companies, built over almost 20 years. Read more analysis and interviews on the Highland Marketing website, follow us on Twitter @Highlandmarketng, or get in touch on:

allpay celebrates new contract with the NHS Business Services Authority

allpay has confirmed a contract with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) to facilitate payment card top-ups to the digitised Healthy Start Scheme which will be launched in 2021.

Healthy Start is a statutory scheme which will be administered by the NHSBSA on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) from 2021, to support better diets for lower-income pregnant women and families with children under four.

The NHSBSA is launching a digitised Healthy Start Scheme in 2021 that will offer an online application form and prepaid card to replace the current paper vouchers. This will help disadvantaged families eat more healthily by providing support that is simpler to access and more flexible to use. allpay is to facilitate top-ups to the scheme’s new payment cards, which can be spent on fresh, tinned or frozen plain fruit and vegetables, pulses, milk and infant formula.

Digitisation of the scheme removes the requirement for retailers to register with the scheme, to accept paper vouchers in their stores. Unlike the paper voucher scheme, the new digital scheme will allow beneficiaries to purchase items in any retailer with a card payment system.

The Healthy Start Scheme currently supports some 300,000 beneficiaries a year, with digitisation expected to help support more families to apply for and use the scheme.

allpay has previously worked with the Scottish Government on the “Best Start Foods” scheme, the prepaid card programme assists families with children under three who are eligible for certain income benefits and encourages the purchase of “healthy” products from retailers.

Tony Killeen, Managing Director, allpay Limited said: “The digitisation of the Healthy Start Scheme is an exciting step and I am delighted that allpay has been able to utilise its prepaid solution to help the NHS Business Services Authority and other partners make this, what we hope, will be a very successful initiative.”

Chris Calise, Head of Service for Healthy Start, at NHSBSA said: “NHSBSA is looking forward to helping more families to eat healthily and making the scheme available to more families through the delivery of a digital scheme and the contract with allpay is a step in the right direction. We’re looking forward to working with them on this important initiative.”


Keeping the nation’s cycleways and pathways clear and ice-free this winter has just got easier with the announcement of an exciting new winter services partnership.

This new venture between Safecote and Econ Engineering will provide local councils across the country with the equipment and materials to clear ice and snow on footpaths and cycleways more efficiently.

Whilst Econ has more than 50 years-experience in supplying gritters to the market, Safecote has been delivering ready-to-use liquid anti-icers and de-icers for more than a decade.

Authorities are facing new challenges to keep the ever-increasing network of footways and cycleways open and accessible to the public during the winter season.

This new joint-venture is a natural fit and allows the companies to offer a turnkey solution for those highways authorities who have obligations to keep cycleways and footways safe this winter.

Econ, which last year celebrated its golden anniversary manufactures more than 80 per cent of the winter maintenance and repair vehicles used on Britain’s roads.

Supamix Clear

It has recently launched two satellite engineering and service hubs – the first in Alloa, Scotland, and the second in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

Econ Engineering director Andrew Lupton said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with such a reputable distributor of liquid anti and de-icer as Safecote.

“It has an extensive range of good quality products which complement our towable trailer sprayer de-icer perfectly.

“Econ is constantly innovating its product range to meet the growing demands of our customers and this partnership only enhances our newest offering – the towable trailer sprayer de-icer.”

Safecote prides itself on offering innovative winter service solutions. Its unique products offer unrivalled performance and value for money and is known for its extensive experience in this area.

Mark Dutton, Managing Director at Safecote, said: “Coming together with Econ, a well-known British manufacturer of winter service equipment, to provide this new combi-package is an exciting prospect for us.

“Both companies have extensive experience in the winter services sector and this joint venture will help to meet the demand in the market to keep these areas ice free.”

Exclusive Report: IT hinders UK public sector response to Pandemic, finds major pan-European study


  • UK public servants see biggest shift to remote working compared to European counterparts, and over half now want to continue working from home post Covid-19
  • A third (37%) of UK public servants say their IT hindered their ability to respond to the crisis
  • 58% say that a remote delivery model can maintain or improve quality of service
  • Modern/faster computers, improved applications and better infrastructure cited for upgrades


Almost three quarters (74%) of UK public servants[1] experienced a major increase in remote working amongst their teams in response to Covid-19, but over a third (37%) found that their IT hindered their ability to respond to the crisis. The pan-European study of 3,500 public servants found the UK public sector experienced the biggest shift to remote working of the eight European countries analysed.

Despite the impact of technology on responding effectively to the crisis, almost two thirds (58%) of UK public servants indicated that service quality can be maintained or even improved with a remote model. This was only slightly below the European average of 62% – with Italy topping the rankings – with almost three quarters (71%) expecting no effect, or an improvement in services delivered remotely.

The UK findings, which form part of the major new pan-European survey across eight countries, are exclusively published today (23 November 2020) by management and technology consultancy BearingPoint. The study also found few UK public servants interested in the latest tablet or touchscreen device to help them deliver their work more effectively, but almost 2 in 5 (38%) need a modern/faster computer, 34% require improved applications on their computer, and 31% need access to better IT infrastructure.

Overall UK public servants’ views on remote working are positive – and compared to their European counterparts – the UK (52%) only ranks second to Italy (54%) for wanting to continue to work remotely regularly after the Covid-19 crisis is over. Almost three quarters (73%) of UK public servants also reported that the Covid-19 crisis has either had a positive impact on collaboration (46%) or had no effect on how their team has worked together (27%).

But the BearingPoint report says that with a greater number of public servants in the UK and Europe wishing to continue working from home after the pandemic, the success of this new hybrid model (split between working remotely and in the office) relies on an effective allocation of tasks and careful planning of those activities carried out face-to-face rather than remotely.

Stewart Johns, Partner at BearingPoint said:

“Our study has shone a light on the fact that in the UK and across Europe, public sector organisations need to prioritise investments in basic IT hardware and infrastructure to enable more effective remote working and delivery of services.  Remote working requires effective platforms for collaboration and remote conferencing, and professionalising the use of collaborative platforms such as MS Teams, will also future-proof service delivery and maintain public sector morale during these challenging times, and beyond.” 

The BearingPoint study also found:

  • Covid-19 response and job satisfaction – There has also been signs of a positive morale boost in the UK’s public sector – with almost half (43%) of public servants reporting that the response to Covid-19 has had a positive impact on their job satisfaction.
  • New skills – Over two thirds (69%) of UK public servants also state that the Covid-19 crisis has increased the need for new skills in their role; with a similar number (68%) stating that they will need new skills in the next three years.

Stewart Johns from BearingPoint concluded:

“There’s a real hunger amongst public servants to acquire new skills, citing skills development as the key dimension to improve service quality, ahead of technology, management and the working environment. Public sector organisations should therefore invest more in L&D to help public servants’ transition to new ways of working and take advantage of new technologies. With the right level of support, public servants can continue their transition from ‘process followers’ to ‘problem solvers’.” 

The countries included in the BearingPoint study were France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ireland using information captured from online surveys of representative sample groups over the summer period 2020.

[1] 600 UK public servants were surveyed over the summer period 2020 as part of the larger Pan-European study of 3,500 public servants.

PM to confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December

The Prime Minister will tomorrow publish a Covid Winter Plan, setting out the next phase of the government’s Covid response.

On Monday, he will confirm national restrictions will end on 2 December and set out how England will move back into a three-tiered, regional set of restrictions.

Whilst some local measures will be similar to those in place previously, the tiers will also be strengthened in some areas in order to safeguard the gains made during the period of national restrictions.

It is expected that more areas will be placed into the higher tiers in order to keep the virus under control, and ensure further national restrictions are not required.

However, whilst these measures will be difficult, the Prime Minister will be clear that these restrictions will not last any longer than absolutely necessary and will take into account the need to protect livelihoods and support the economy.

The tiers will be reviewed on a regular basis, in line with the latest data and trends and there will be a legal obligation to keep measures under ongoing review.

Recent positive developments on vaccines and mass testing provide real confidence that the reliance on economic and social restrictions to control the virus can be gradually reduced in the run up to Spring.

Provided vaccines are approved by regulators, the first injections can be made next month before being rolled out more widely in the new year. Progress in mass testing is expected to help provide a way to suppress the virus and relax restrictions.

The plan is set to be discussed and signed off by Cabinet on Sunday, and announced by the Prime Minister in parliament on Monday.

It will also set out how people will be able to see their loved ones at Christmas, despite ministers being clear this will not be a normal festive period.

SAGE are likely to publish further papers on Monday, setting out the scientific advice that the previous tiers were not strong enough, and that a tougher regional approach is required.

On Thursday, ministers will announce which areas will be placed into which tier, which will be based on the latest data and impact of national restrictions. MPs will be able to vote on the tiering system before it comes into force.

A No10 spokesperson said:

“Everyone’s efforts during the current national restrictions have helped bring the virus back under control, slowed its spread and eased pressures on the NHS.

“But the Prime Minister and his scientific advisors are clear the virus is still present – and without regional restrictions it could quickly run out of control again before vaccines and mass testing have had an effect.

“That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made, and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS.”

The Covid Winter Plan will also set out how scientific advances in vaccination, treatments and testing will help enable life to gradually return closer to normal.

Next month, the vaccination programme will begin – provided regulators approve the vaccines – and increases in mass testing will allow us to identify and isolate people who don’t have symptoms.

It is the Prime Minister’s hope and belief that progress in mass testing can – if everyone continues to pull together – provide a way to suppress the virus and relax restrictions until a vaccine becomes available.

Clearview Intelligence social distancing solution helps keep ITV Studios’ I’m a Celebrity on the air

Electronic proximity detectors

As part of their COVID-safe production plan, ITV Studios is issuing all the crew of its hit TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! with electronic tags to ensure they keep a safe distance apart during this series.

The show is being set in Gwrych Castle, North Wales rather than New South Wales Australia this year due to Covid restrictions and producers are doing all they can to keep their team safe.

They’re using electronic proximity detectors supplied by Clearview Intelligence which light up and buzz to warn people when they are two metres away from another person.  The tags also log any incidents when they occur providing a fast and efficient track-and-trace solution should anyone test positive, therefore, making it easier to identify those who have been in close proximity who would need to self-isolate.

ITV Studios’ Director of Entertainment Richard Cowles, explained, “The crew on I’m A Celebrity all wear proximity monitors that alert them when they are less than two metres away from each other, that way they can step back and safely social distance.  We want to do everything we can to create the safest workplace for crew, cast and our hosts.”

Clearview Intelligence has recently taken over marketing and supplying the tags, retaining UK licence holder Neil Levett to work alongside Clearview and drive the project.

“These tags are an essential tool in supporting staff to work safely in any environment,” added Nick Lanigan, Managing Director of Clearview Intelligence.  “ITV Studios recognises that it makes sense from a health and safety and business continuity perspective to use the tags and help keep their staff safe.”

The EGOpro Social Distancing Solution is being used at a number of construction and transport sites since their UK introduction in March.

Wales Chief Medical Officer welcomes encouraging vaccine news but urges us all to continue to ‘stay safe’

CMO, Dr Frank Atherton

The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has welcomed the news that a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready this year but has warned “that these are very early days”.

Dr Frank Atherton said it could be towards the end next year before a vaccine was rolled out fully to all the eligible population and in the meantime it is essential that everyone continues to observe social distancing, limit meeting in indoor spaces, wear face coverings where appropriate and practice good hand and cough hygiene.

“This is an important step and a remarkable scientific achievement. But full safety data is needed before the vaccine is approved for use,” he said.

“We have well-developed plans to roll out any approved vaccine across priority groups in Wales, but in the meantime, we all need to continue doing everything we can to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Limiting indoor visits, keeping our social distance, and wearing a face covering where needed as well as regular hand washing are vital actions if we are to suppress the spread of the virus in Wales. Continue to ‘stay safe’ and protect yourself and others.”

The Welsh Government has been working closely with the UK Government and other devolved nations on preparing for vaccines in development.

Dr Atherton said: “Planning for the delivery of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in Wales is well underway. Including organising the logistics for transporting the vaccine, identifying suitable venues for vaccinations to take place, and ensuring that healthcare professionals are available and trained to administer the vaccines.

Health and social care workers, care home residents and staff have been prioritised to receive a vaccine first, with roll out to older people in age bands from next year.

But it’s likely to be a long time until the whole population has been vaccinated, so until then we should all be doing whatever we can to stop the spread of the virus.”


efore a vaccine was rolled out fully to all the eligible population and in the meantime it is essential that everyone continues to observe social distancing, limit meeting in indoor spaces, wear face coverings where appropriate and practice good hand and cough hygiene.

“This is an important step and a remarkable scientific achievement. But full safety data is needed before the vaccine is approved for use,” he said.

“We have well-developed plans to roll out any approved vaccine across priority groups in Wales, but in the meantime, we all need to continue doing everything we can to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Limiting indoor visits, keeping our social distance, and wearing a face covering where needed as well as regular hand washing are vital actions if we are to suppress the spread of the virus in Wales. Continue to ‘stay safe’ and protect yourself and others.”

The Welsh Government has been working closely with the UK Government and other devolved nations on preparing for vaccines in development.

Dr Atherton said: “Planning for the delivery of a potential COVID-19 vaccine in Wales is well underway. Including organising the logistics for transporting the vaccine, identifying suitable venues for vaccinations to take place, and ensuring that healthcare professionals are available and trained to administer the vaccines.

Health and social care workers, care home residents and staff have been prioritised to receive a vaccine first, with roll out to older people in age bands from next year.

But it’s likely to be a long time until the whole population has been vaccinated, so until then we should all be doing whatever we can to stop the spread of the virus.

New Rural Economy Toolkit to support “missed opportunity” around rural relevance to UK productivity and prosperity

The Institute of Economic Development (IED) and the Rural Services Network (RSN) have devised a new practitioner-focused toolkit which is intended as a guide for “anyone seeking to raise rural relevance in the economic agenda”.

The Rural Economy Toolkit, which is being launched on 12 November, is designed to ensure that rural areas are better recognised in economic strategies and to enable the identification of new opportunities to drive forward rural initiatives.

Bev Hurley

The IED and RSN collectively believe that rural economies present great opportunities for the UK and have been somewhat overlooked in recent economic policy, including in the development of the UK Industrial Strategy (and subsequent local versions) and the Government’s Plan for Jobs. A recent report from the RSN states that predominantly rural areas in England contributed £260 billion of Gross Value Added to the national economy during 2018, which accounts for almost a 16% share of England’s economic output. That rural share has reduced somewhat over time, from 16.4% in 2010 to 15.9% in 2018, as London has expanded further its share of the country’s activity.

Acknowledging that “the situation needs to be addressed”, with the UK required to better utilise its overall resource base, its existing built assets and infrastructure and the whole of its population through more even distribution of productive effort, the Rural Economy Toolkit:

  • Uncovers the issues that are preventing rural economies from gaining full recognition.
  • Reviews some of the policy drivers that are affecting rural economies.
  • Outlines some of the ‘mega trends’ which will create change in rural economies but links these to opportunities.
  • Provides a number of case studies of different rural economy initiatives as well as some examples of successful rural businesses.
  • Identifies the steps that can be taken to ensure that rural economies remain in the economic narrative.
  • Summarises the key measures that rural economies can address to answer “what looks good”.

Speaking ahead of the toolkit’s formal launch on Thursday, IED Chair Bev Hurley CBE and RSN CEO Graham Biggs MBE said: “Current economic

Graham Biggs

strategies in the UK tend towards an urban narrative with the important rural agenda overlooked – despite the importance of resources, activities and people in these areas to the future economic strength of the country. Many drivers of change in the economy have an important rural dimension and create economic opportunities. The most important drivers in this report are identified as low carbon, digitisation, ageing and wealth creation. There are many examples of best practice, where rethinking a rural approach led to economic gains ignored by mainstream strategy. This toolkit approach encourages lateral thinking not standardisation. There is no such thing as ‘rural businesses’ – any business can thrive in a rural setting. The Rural Economy Toolkit provided sets out how rural areas can define themselves; find and present the relevant data; use comparators and time series data to identify strengths and weaknesses and then combine this with lived experience to seize the initiative in strategy.”

Rural economy ‘best practice’ featuring in the toolkit are the Borderlands Growth Deal, Broadband for the Rural North, National Innovation Centre for Ageing, South West Mutual and Transition Town Totnes. There is also a handy ‘top tips’ guide on the things that should be considered to deliver a successful economic strategy.

South Tees signs major deal with Alcidion for smart health tech

Reporter: Stuart Littleford

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will embrace AI and automation, enhance patient safety, and alleviate pressure on busy staff in a new deal with tech partner Alcidion. Clinicians will use an entire new range of smart technologies and get more from existing IT.  

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has signed a major deal with smart health technology provider Alcidion. An entire range of new technology capabilities will alleviate pressure for busy NHS professionals, helping to automate routine tasks, enhance patient safety and improve the delivery of care, whilst also fully harnessing the trust’s existing IT.

The trust, which employs around 9,000 people, will benefit from a modern technology suite that will allow clinical staff to much more easily utilise crucial information and insights, with IT systems working together to proactively aid clinical decisions.

South Tees Hospitals will adopt Alcidion’s Miya Precision solution as well as the Better OPENeP electronic prescribing and medicines administration system, in a move that will rapidly advance the trust’s digital maturity and orchestrate the trust’s best of breed technology strategy.

Mr Andrew Adair, chief clinical information officer and emergency medicine consultant at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This technology is designed for clinicians by people who really understand clinicians. Our agreement with Alcidion will allow us to accelerate our digital maturity and adopt modern technology that will have a very significant positive impact on the daily lives of the people who use it.

“We have been determined to finalise this agreement at a time of unprecedented pressure in the NHS. The systems we are about to implement will help to lighten the burden faced by clinical staff who are working fantastically hard, by reducing time spent on manual processes and providing some extremely impressive clinical decision support tools. We have chosen to work with Alcidion as more than just another technology supplier – but as a partner that has already demonstrated it understands the needs of our healthcare professionals, our digital strategy and the specific needs of our organisation.”

Miya Precision, a new type of technology for the UK, was formally launched during the summer as the first smart clinical asset for the NHS. It will provide South Tees Hospitals with a trust-wide orchestration layer to integrate information held across existing systems, converting it to the FHIR standard. This will allow data currently held in disparate systems to be consolidated and referenced by artificial intelligence and advanced clinical decision support provided through the Miya Precision platform.

The new system will automate tasks, care plans and pathways at South Tees Hospitals, saving many hours of time traditionally spent by doctors and nurses on manual and administrative functions. Intelligent algorithms and data science that underpin Miya Precision will support new ways of working at the trust and will provide new and advanced functionality around clinical noting, natural language processing, flow management and remote monitoring of patients. The system will also provide a common user interface for dozens of IT systems in place across the trust, whilst Miya Memory, the company’s mobile solution, will make the full patient record accessible to clinicians on mobile devices.

Lynette Ousby General Manager UK – Alcidion

Lynette Ousby, UK general manager for Alcidion, said: “South Tees Hospitals will use Miya Precision to move beyond static systems of record, to systems that proactively engage staff. We are committed to working with the trust and its existing suppliers to unlock substantial value from their current IT investments and complementing that with new technological capabilities in an interconnected way. Ripping out investments to accelerate digital maturity is no longer the only option for the NHS. South Tees Hospitals’ decision demonstrates this, and we look forward to working with the trust to make sure we deliver technology in a way that is genuinely helpful to users.”

The Miya Precision suite of modules incorporates the well-known Patientrack electronic observations system. It will alert staff at South Tees Hospitals with early warnings when patients are at risk of harm or deterioration and will digitise how nurses capture vital signs at the bedside. This will allow the automatic calculation of patients’ early warning scores that will trigger alerts to doctors and appropriate care teams in the hospital when they need to intervene to prevent harm.

This electronic observations functionality is used in more than 40 NHS hospitals to great effect, where healthcare professionals have innovated with the system to help to save lives, improve patient safety, and substantially reduce adverse events such as cardiac arrests and admissions to intensive care. It has also been used to better manage and detect deadly illnesses including sepsis and acute kidney injury.

Kate Quirke – CEO Alcidion

OPENeP – a highly respected ePMA system from Better, will allow the trust to digitise its prescribing and medicines administration processes. South Tees Hospitals will be the second NHS trust to benefit from a partnership between Alcidion and Better. The ePMA will launch alongside the electronic observations and patient assessments in the first phase of the technology deployment, allowing seamless integration between electronic observations and medication processes, in a move that will enhance patient safety.

South Tees Hospitals is the second NHS trust to procure a combination of Alcidion’s Miya Precision and Patientrack systems and the Better OPENeP solution – following early adopter Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust. It is the largest hospital trust in the Tees Valley and runs the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton as well as community services in Hambleton and Richmondshire, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland, providing care for more than 1.5 million people.

Alcidion Group managing director, Kate Quirke, said: “Clinical staff working across South Tees Hospitals will be among the first in the UK to benefit from our range of healthcare technologies that have been specifically built to make the right thing to do, the easiest thing to do, even during the busiest of times. It is extremely rewarding to see South Tees Hospitals enter into this agreement so soon after we formally launched Miya Precision as the first smart clinical asset for the NHS. The NHS remains one of our most significant partners anywhere in the world, and I look forward to driving forward this new partnership for the benefit of staff and patients at the trust.”

WPS to install ticketless parking in Woking Borough

Woking Town centre

WPS, one of the UK’s leading parking equipment providers, is helping Woking Borough Council to provide a seamless visitor and resident experience with a series of ticketless car park upgrades as a part of Woking town centre’s regeneration.

Central to each installation is the use of WPS’s leading-edge Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) based parking technology, which reads a driver’s number plate on entry to a car park and calculates the parking fee based on their length of stay.

Before leaving, users have multiple payments options, including cash, chip & pin and contactless (including Apple Pay and Google Pay) at WPS’ ParkAdvance™ pay stations or via the WPS-integrated JustPark App. The customer keys in their car registration number at the pay station or enters a car park code in the app – once paid, exit barriers automatically open. The overall solution includes a web portal for managing season ticket / permit holders using the car parks. The WPS system also links real-time to the JustPark app to provide an ‘AutoPay’ parking experience, where regular users can exit and pay automatically for their parking by preregistering their licence plate and payment details.

New digital “VMS” signage will be installed both on approaching roads and in the new car parks, to help visitors efficiently find available spaces.

The IP-based architecture of the ParkAdvance™ system enables the straight-forward integration of multiple technologies providing total flexibility in system design, as well as a convenient, singular management and reporting platform. The system is also future-proofed, as it can be readily expanded with further features, for example to include retailer and leisure validation and loyalty schemes.

Visitors to the car parks will soon have the option to pay with their theatre or cinema ticket and retailers will be able to discount parking for customers who spend in their outlets.  The ticketless system is a greener option, eliminating the requirement for paper tickets and completely removing issues that arise from faulty or lost tickets.

Cllr Ayesha Azad, Leader of Woking Borough Council, praised the excellent working relationship between Woking Borough Council and WPS, which allowed an exacting brief to be developed. She said:

“Our brief was for a seamless customer experience and an advanced system that matched the forward-thinking nature of the town’s regeneration, and this is exactly what we got.

“We are very excited about the enhanced, greener, parking experience that we will now be able to offer visitors to the town centre and can’t wait to welcome shoppers to their new, improved car parks.”

Simon Jarvis, Managing Director of WPS in the UK, says parking is a vital touch point in a visitor’s town centre experience:

“The Council had a well thought out brief that allowed us to work in partnership with them, JustPark and other providers to fully-utilise the best systems and services available. We’ve been able to bring together an integrated suite of leading technologies to create a solution that delivers the utmost in flexibility, efficiency and convenience for Woking residents, commuters and visitors, as well as the Council.”

Hannah Fuller, Head of Partnerships for JustPark, says: “Putting together this brilliant solution is a testament to the collaborative abilities of WPS, JustPark and Woking Borough Council. We’ve worked very hard to create a seamless payment solution, that includes our new AutoPay feature, allowing customers to set up their account to debit automatically when they drive in and out without having to think about it. It’s great to see all this coming to fruition for the benefit of the residents and visitors of Woking.”

The first car park to go live is Victoria Way, a multi-story car park open 24/7 that provides 932 spaces. It will be followed in early 2021 by Shoppers Yellow, Shoppers Blue, Brewery Road and Heathside Crescent. The newly-built Shoppers Red car park will also be launched with the new system.

The installation follows WPS and JustPark’s 2020 British Parking Awards win in the ‘Parking Technology’ category for a solution that combines the benefits of WPS’ ParkAdvance™ pay-on-foot parking system with JustPark’s payment app technology, designed to enhance the customer experience at multiple car parks operated by Cornwall Council.

COVID-19 guidance on reducing risk in schools

Momentum growing in education sector for CO2 monitors

The Scottish Government is leading the call for increased usage of CO2 monitors in classrooms, to reduce the transmission of COVID, and protect pupils and teachers. Local authorities are being advised to learn from neighbouring authorities who already have the monitoring devices in place.

Recently published guidelines

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Pinnacle Group has been appointed to the new CAEHRS framework to tackle the UK’s employment and health challenges

It has been announced that Pinnacle Group has been appointed to Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) Commercial Agreement for the provision of Employment and Health Related Services (CAEHRS) across North East England, Southern England, Central England, London and the Home Counties and Wales.

The CAEHRS programme will

Continue reading Pinnacle Group has been appointed to the new CAEHRS framework to tackle the UK’s employment and health challenges

Carbon dioxide monitors could warn of unsafe Covid transmission indoors, scientists say

Steve Swinden, Flamefast CEO, with CO2 monitor

Reporter: Stacy Clarke

A report by Government scientists suggested that coronavirus could be checked using CO2 monitors.

As pupils and teachers return to classrooms after half term, major concern is currently being expressed throughout the UK for their health and safety and the threat of airborne transmission

Continue reading Carbon dioxide monitors could warn of unsafe Covid transmission indoors, scientists say

Andy Kinnear joins Ethical Healthcare Consulting

Influential digital health leader joins growing not-for-profit consultancy committed to ‘making a difference to and for the NHS’

Andy Kinnear

Andy Kinnear is to join Ethical Healthcare Consulting, a growing community interest company that is proud to be the only not-for-profit digital health consultancy in the UK.

The former chair of BCS

Continue reading Andy Kinnear joins Ethical Healthcare Consulting