Funding boost for AI in NHS to speed up diagnosis of diseases

The investment will boost improvements in technology across the NHS to speed up the diagnosis of diseases like cancer.
By Sara Mageit
05:54 AM

A £50 million funding boost will be invested in the work of the Digital Pathology and Imaging Artificial Intelligence Centres of Excellence, which will develop AI and digital tools to diagnose diseases.

The three centres set to receive a share of the funding are based in Coventry, Leeds and London.

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Pathology imaging services and radiology play a crucial role in the diagnosis of diseases.

The funding will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS trusts, benefiting 26.5 million patients across England.

The investment aims to enable faster and more accurate diagnosis and more personalised treatments for patients, subsequently freeing up clinicians’ time and ultimately saving lives.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

The new funding is part of the UK government’s commitment to saving more lives each year and detecting three-quarters of all cancers at an early stage by 2028.

The government has also provided an update on the number of cancer diagnostic machines replaced in England; 69 scanners have now been installed and are in use, 10 more are being installed and 75 have been ordered or are ready to be installed.

In September 2019, £200 million was announced to help replace MRI machines, CT scanners and breast screening equipment, as part of the government’s commitment to ensure 55,000 more people survive cancer each year.

ON THE RECORD

National pathology imaging co-operative director and consultant pathologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust Darren Treanor said: “This investment will allow us to use digital pathology to diagnose cancer at 21 NHS trusts in the north, serving a population of 6 million people.

“We will also build a national network spanning another 25 hospitals in England, allowing doctors to get expert second opinions in rare cancers, such as childhood tumours, more rapidly. This funding puts the NHS in a strong position to be a global leader in the use of artificial intelligence in the diagnosis of disease.”

Professor Kiran Patel, chief medical officer and interim chief executive officer for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS trust, said: “We are delighted to receive and lead this funding. This represents a major capital investment into the NHS which will massively expand the digitisation of cellular pathology services, driving diagnostic evaluation to new heights and increasing access to a vast amount of image information for research."

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