The UK government has announced a hefty £36m funding boost for artificial intelligence (AI) research technologies in a bid to help the ‘NHS transform [...] quality of care’.

The funding will go toward the winners of the second wave of the NHS AI Lab’s AI in Health and Care Award.

The 38 projects with NHSX and Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) backing include projects aiming to improve care and the speed of diagnoses for conditions including lung cancer, heart attacks and mental health difficulties.

The AI award package also includes funding to support the research, development and testing of early phase, promising ideas which could be used in the NHS in the future.

Since the first round of the AI in Health and Care Award in September, where £50m was given to 42 AI projects, over 17,000 stroke patients and over 25,000 patients with diabetes have benefitted from the new technologies.

“AI has the potential to completely revolutionise every part of how we approach healthcare, from how we diagnose diseases and the speed at which our doctors and nurses deliver treatments to how we support people’s mental health,” said Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

“The 38 projects we are backing reflect the UK’s trailblazing approach to innovation in the healthcare sector, and could help us take a leap forward in the quality of care and the speed of disease diagnoses and treatment in the NHS,” he added.

The AI in Health and Care Award is set to distribute £140m over three years – the next round of applications will open in late June.

It is managed by the AAC in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).