The UK Space Agency will stream up to £4 million into find hi-tech solutions to major health and care challenges facing the NHS in its 70th anniversary year, under a joint initiative with NHS England.

Up to four applications will receive cash from the Agency to turn technology originally designed for space into medical applications that improve NHS treatment and care.

Innovations are being sought to improvement management of long-term conditions, secure earlier diagnosis of cancer, transform GP and other primary care services, and better meet mental needs.

This is not the first time space tech has been adapted for NHS use, with previous examples including a pill camera that can be swallowed by patients, dementia tracking slippers, breast screening vans that beam images back to assessment centres, wearable monitors to help prevent falls among the elderly and apps that help prevent skin cancer, NHS England said.

“Britain’s world-leading space sector continues to grow and support vital public services like the NHS with innovative applications,” said Emily Gravestock, UK Space Agency head of applications.

“We encourage all businesses and public bodies to consider the role that satellite data can play in tackling some of the biggest challenges we face, as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.”