Bidding will begin "shortly" for the £100m Nursing Technology Fund.
Nearly a year after Prime Minister David Cameron announced £100m to go towards nurses and midwives to spend on new mobile technology, NHS England says it is nearly ready to open up a bidding process for the fund.
NHS England took on operational responsibility for managing the Nursing Technology Fund in April.
“NHS providers will shortly be able to bid for funding and we will be providing more details to NHS providers and commissioners in the coming weeks in advance of the bid process opening,” an NHS England spokesperson said.
“This is a real opportunity to make a difference and it is important that the fund is used to deliver the maximum benefits for staff and patient care.”
An NHS England statement to EHI says that the fund should be used for, “a combination of technologies to help reduce administration” and help nurses and midwives to spend more time with patients.
The technology could include digital pens or mobile technology such as tablets or notebooks, “with which staff are able to work more safely and efficiently in community settings, such as patients’ homes.”
“There is also a commitment to support hospital nursing staff where vital signs monitoring equipment can automatically record and display critical clinical information about patients quickly and consistently,” NHS England says.
Since the fund was announced last year, little seems to have happened, but NHS England attributes this to the “major organisational transition” the NHS has gone through.
“The Nursing Technology Fund is a real opportunity to make a difference and it is important we take the time to get it right and that the application process is as simple as possible,” the statement says.
The government also recently announced that an extra £240 million would be added to the existing £260m Safer Hospitals Safer Wards Technology Fund.
NHS England says there will be some collaboration between the two funds.
“We are working to ensure that there is synergy in the delivery of this and the nursing technology fund to deliver the maximum benefits to patient care.”