SBRI Healthcare is offering companies each up to £100,000 to test the feasibility of projects that might help alleviate current pressures on urgent and emergency care services in the UK.

The competition is calling for companies from all sectors with an idea or project that could help deliver high-quality and efficient urgent and emergency care to take part, and is “particularly keen” to involve those working in non-health fields whose technologies may be applied to current challenges in urgent care.

The theme - chosen in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks across England - stems from a surge in the number of attendances at A&E (up 30% in 10 years) and steadily growing waiting times across the country. More than 70% of hospital bed days are now occupied by A&E admissions and 80% of A&E admissions who stay for more than two weeks are patients aged over 65.

Split into three categories, these competition themes focus on potential areas where technology solutions might address some of the issues: the first challenge within primary care support aims to cut the number of people attending A&E in the first place; the second looks to manage the distribution of cases arriving at A&E at any one time to better manage the flow of patients; and the third seeks to improve access to the clinical decision maker.

In the last year, SBRI Healthcare has launched 10 new clinically-led competitions and awarded £22.4 million to 60 companies to develop products focused on specific NHS unmet need.