Three ambulance trusts have been formally confirmed as global digital exemplars (GDEs) by NHS England.

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust and North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust were selected as GDEs by a panel including NHS England CIO Will Smart and national clinical director for urgent and emergency care Professor Jonathan Benger.

Digital Health News previously reported that North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust had been selected, with the organisation awaiting formal confirmation.

At that point, it was believed that four trusts would ultimately be named. But Digital Health now understands there are no imminent plans to designate any other ambulance organisations as GDEs.

South Central, West Midlands and North East are to share an investment of £5m over two and a half years, which they will be expected to match fund, taking total investment to £10m.

Smart said a “different approach” was being taken with the ambulance branch of the GDE programme, in which digitally advanced trusts are given additional funds to further their digitisation and support others to do the same.

“We are asking the three successful trusts to think of ways in which they can work together to drive improvements through the use of digital technology,” he explained.

“By stepping up to become world class these three trusts will join the most digitally advanced healthcare organisations across the globe and help deliver a sustainable and transformed NHS.”

The trusts will be expected to focus on areas including access to patient records, use of remote diagnostics such as video consultations, and wifi access in emergency vehicles.

The latest additions to the GDE programme bring the total investment up to £280m (or £560m if match funding is included).