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£4.8m funding for adult social care digital projects

Local authorities and other organisations urged to apply for share in Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant

Published on 8th April 2019

A funding pot of £4.8 million has been made available for organisations that provide and commission adult social care services to roll out their local digital projects on a wider scale.

Existing products and services that have already been piloted in small local areas, or have a strong evidence base, have been invited to bid for a share of £4.8m Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant to enable them to implement them on a larger scale.

Pam Garraway Senior Responsible Officer for the Social Care Programme at NHS Digital said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the social care sector to see their local digital projects rolled out on a wider scale; potentially benefiting the whole health and social care sector.

“Applicants should have already successfully piloted a solution in their area or have a strong evidence base of need.

“This investment will then support them in scaling up across multiple organisations that can reuse and share successful solutions in the wider area or elsewhere.”

Local authorities, adult social care providers with not for profit status and academic organisations in England can apply for the funding. The investment is part of the NHS’ Digital Transformation Portfolio and managed by NHS Digital2. Partnerships and consortiums are welcomed and encouraged.

There are two main themes to this programme of work:

Use of standards to support whole health and care system interoperability, for example:

- sharing of information across the health and social care system to support efficient access to care, and for direct care.

- real time event alerts that notify a social care provider when a citizen receiving social care support has been admitted to hospital, discharged from hospital and other appropriate flags.

- removal of fax machines from care providers through the implementation of appropriate safe and secure messaging platforms between health, care providers and local authorities.

Use of data for the prevention of escalating social care needs and for early intervention of those at risk of requiring social care, for example:

- predictive modelling for adult social care demands and needs across a population.

- using data to highlight those whose combination of health, social and environmental indicators means that they are at higher risk of losing their independence.

Glen Garrod, President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “Digital technology represents a significant opportunity for social care as it does for our colleagues in the NHS. We know that some people are using technology to help them stay connected, employed and independent. Local digital projects pioneered by my fellow Directors and companies with a particular expertise in better using technological products represent part of the future for our vital sector and this funding is a welcome recognition.

“Whilst this funding is welcome to assist adult social care to explore further ways to improve services, this is set within a context of rising demand and fewer resources. Adult social care simply must have a sustainable funding base to ensure all areas of the country have the wherewithal to benefit from progress in the use of existing technology and new innovations. This is a matter that the government itself must find a solution to," he added.

The selected Digital Pathfinders will begin with a four-month development phase followed by a 13-month implementation phase if development is successful. The deadline for applications is Wednesday May 22 at 5pm.

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