Seven NHS trusts have received £1m or more from the Nursing Technology Fund for mobile working, vital signs, and nursing observation projects.

NHS England announced today that 75 of the 140 trusts that applied for the £30m on offer from the first round of the £100m fund had been successful, with a total of 85 projects funded.  

Announcing the successful projects at the Health and Social Care Innovation Expo in Manchester today, Beverley Bryant, NHS England’s director of strategic systems and technology, said the fund was “all about making life easier for staff.”

“For example, a digital pen can improve record keeping and reduce paperwork; a tablet or iPad can mean a community nurse can work on the go without needing to make as many trips back to the office, which means more time spent with patients,” she said.

Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust will receive £1m for its mobile working system for community nurses.

Amy Freeman, the trust’s chief information officer, said the trust will spend the money on buying laptops, clinical tablets and smartphones.

Access to mobile devices with cameras will allow staff to use the trust’s corporate instant messaging system, web conferencing and teleconferencing services. This means they will be able to discuss cases and conduct shift handovers without returning to base.

St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust has been successful in its £1m bid for vital signs integrated monitoring devices and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust will get £1m to introduce mobile technologies in the community.

The fund, first announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in October 2012, received more than 220 applications from trusts, which were expected to show how their technology projects would deliver real improvements to patient care and safety.

The applications had to be led by nurses and each trust could apply for a maximum of three projects in the first round.

The majority of trusts that have been successful have received funding for mobile devices, digital pens, nursing observations and vital signs monitoring.

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been successful in two bids. It will receive £1m for vital signs monitoring and £444,000 for an electronic patient record community roll-out.

Sherwood Forest Hospital NHS Trust will get £1m for a project called ‘Better information for nurses, better care for patients’ as well as £191,145 to deploy the VitalPAC vital signs monitoring system. 

On the other end of the funding scale, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust has been successful in getting £36,550 to deploy digital pens for its maternity service, and Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust’s specialist palliative care electronic patient record project will get £35,409.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said: “We received an amazing response to application process and the decisions on choosing the successful projects have been difficult.

"It has always come back to one key question – how will this project deliver real, practical benefits for nurses, midwives and care staff and their patients.”

The deadline for expressions of interest for the remaining £70m of the fund closed on Wednesday 26 February.