Posted on August 8, 2019 by staff

Boris Johnson pledges £250m for NHS AI boost


New Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a pledge of £250m in AI technology to help the NHS improve efficiency.

The funds will be invested in a new National Artificial Intelligence Lab, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, which will bring together academics, doctors and AI experts.

Hancock, who has long been an advocate of introducing tech to the NHS, said that by bringing together the NHS and the countries tech talent, the UK could be the “world leader in these advances in healthcare”.

The new AI Lab will sit within NHSX, a new organisation overseeing digital transformations within the health service.

It is hoped that projects developed within the lab will successfully bring new approaches to cancer screening, dementia and heart disease screening.

It will also attempt to create new systems to detect people at risk of post-operative complications, infections, and those that require follow-up from clinicians.

The resulting technology is hoped to improve patient safety and reduce readmission rates, allowing beds to be ‘freed up’.

It is also hoped that new lab will create AI-based solutions to administrative tasks within the NHS, giving NHS workers more time.

Artificial intelligence is already being developed in hospitals to predict cancer survival rates, and the University College Hospital in London has already created an algorithm to identify and call patients likely to otherwise miss their appointment.

“We’re on the cusp of a huge health tech revolution that could transform patient experience by making the NHS a truly predictive, preventive and personalised health and care service,” the Health Secretary said.

The PM added: “The NHS is revered for the world-class care it provides every day – a treasured institution that showcases the very best of Britain.

“But it is also leading the way in harnessing new technology to treat and prevent, from earlier cancer detection to spotting the deadly signs of dementia.

“Today’s funding is not just about the future of care though. It will also boost the frontline by automating admin tasks and freeing up staff to care for patients.”

In July, Johnson called for higher tax on tech giants including Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.

Last year as home secretary, Johnson rallied the tech sector to come to the aide of endangered animal wildlife.