The additional four acute global digital exemplar trusts have finally been confirmed by NHS England, after being revealed in trusts’ board papers previously.

Published in the ‘Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View’, released Friday, the four new trusts are:

  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust with Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust
  • Newcastle upon Type Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

NHS England’s announcement brings the total of acute GDEs up to 16, after the initial 12 were announced in September.

The next steps document did not detail the financial rewards of being a GDE, nor the timeline specified to digitalise, but said the trusts were “subject to HM Treasury capital approvals”.

The report said that GDE’s “task is not only to become great, but to work with other acute trusts to develop a blueprint that can be deployed to other hospitals”.

“Our intention is that, in the future, hospitals won’t merely choose an IT vendor, they will choose a hospital that they want to partner with and implement the same system, keeping the IT 80% the same and making only the 20% of changes that are absolutely necessary to meet local needs.”

Six mental health exemplars were also announced in the report.

The publication said the trusts would be partnered with “fast followers” trusts to deploy in parallel with the GDEs.

The fast followers will be confirmed over this coming quarter, the paper said.

In February, Will Smart, NHS England’s chief information officer, said that NHS England plans to spend £100 million on 20 “fast followers” trusts, with each receiving up £5 million.

Earlier this month GDE Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust nominated its two fast followers in its February board papers.

The trust nominated Blackpool Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Wye Valley NHS Trust as fast follower partners.

A limbo has existed over the four additional exemplars with trusts naming themselves in their board papers.

Cambridge reported in its February board papers that it “was formally named as one of the NHS Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) trusts”, and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust also named themselves as a joint exemplar in the latter’s January board papers.

The 12 acute GDEs were promised £100 million from central funds to undergo digital transformation, with the first tranche expected in the 2016/17 financial year.

Concerns grew over the missing millions as the financial year, ending March 31 grew close, and finally a few days before the deadline NHS England confirmed that the money would not arrive until the 2017/18 financial year.

By including Cambridge in the GDE trusts, NHS England have included the only trust in the country that has gone live with Epic’s electronic patient record.

Imperial and Newcastle both use Cerner EPR, and Alder Hey uses Meditech.