SBRI Healthcare, an NHS England funded scheme to develop innovative products that address unmet health needs, is awarding £1.4 million to companies developing innovative new technologies that reduce pressures on A&E.

Fourteen companies have been chosen to share the cash pot, with an average award of £98,000 each, to underpin development of novel approaches to preventing admissions, co-ordinating admissions, and resource planning.

The successful projects, which have been chosen for their potential value to the health service and improved outcomes to patients, will be supported and fully funded to demonstrate the technical feasibility of their proposed concept.

Those businesses demonstrating best value and greatest technical feasibility in phase 1 will progress through to phase 2 to be further supported and funded to take their technologies through to commercialisation, SBRI said. 

Phase 2 contracts for prototype development are worth up to £1 million over one year. Phase 3 contracts are intended to accelerate product adoption, with up to a further £1 million over 12 months, providing the opportunity for validation in NHS settings. 

A&E attendance has risen more than 30% in the last decade, according to the King’s Fund, putting pressure on urgent and emergency care services and increasing waiting times. More than 70% of hospital bed days are occupied by A&E admissions.

'Challenging' area

"Emergency and urgent care is a very challenging area of work for the NHS. The innovative ideas that we are announcing funding for today will hopefully bring new and creative solutions into this space that will improve care for patients and efficiency for the NHS,” noted Jon Siddall, director of Investment Partnerships at South West Academic Health Science Network.

Serket Technology, one of the chosen 14 companies in this round of the competition, is building a revolutionary software platform that streamlines medicine information for patients and empowers pharmacists. 

“With SBRI Healthcare funding we are now able to scale our team and build GP functionality into our ecosystem, completing our vision for universal continuous care,” noted chief executive Quintus Liu. 

“But the help from SBRI Healthcare extends much further - to us it is NHS validation, a gateway to introducing Serket as a standard NHS service, and provides powerful leverage for building strategic partnerships."