Digital Health News understands some trusts initially proposed as mental health fast followers will “definitely” not be among those ultimately named.

Seven NHS trusts were proposed at a meeting in December as part of the next wave of digital pioneers in the NHS.

But further investigation by Digital Health News suggests that some will definitely not ultimately gain fast follower status – which brings with it funding and the opportunity to ‘buddy’ with a global digital exemplar so as to accelerate digital progression – as NHS England continues “due dilligence” on agreeing a final list.

Six of the seven initially-proposed trusts were named by HSJ last week: North West Boroughs Healthcare Trust (buddied with Mersey Care Foundation Trust), Cumbria Partnership FT (buddied with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear FT), Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (buddied with Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT), Sheffield Health and Social Care FT (buddied with Worcestershire Health and Care Trust, Sussex Partnership FT (buddied with Oxfordshire Healthcare FT), Lancashire Care FT (buddied with Berkshire Healthcare FT).

Digital Health News contacted all the trusts named and asked whether they had applied to become a fast follower, and the status of their applocation. Five out of six responded, including Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Nicola Haywood-Alexander, CIO and director of IMST at the trust, said: “We are working together with mental health global digital exemplar, Worcestershire Health and Care Foundation Trust on Sheffield’s fast follower application which is due to be submitted shortly.

“As far as we are aware, no decision has yet been made centrally with regard to the mental health fast follower awards and it is our understanding that the award is contingent upon submission of a robust case to NHS Digital.”

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust also confirmed it was hoping to gain fast follower status.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We are going through a process to be nominated as a fast follower trust and we understand that NHS England is due to announce further details in the forthcoming months. We are really excited about it and the opportunity it will present to develop our digital offer.”

Other trusts which confirmed to Digital Health they are in the running also included Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The NHS England website states each mental health GDE will “select one (or occasionally two) trusts to partner with to accelerate their digital maturity”.

It adds: “In some cases, this will be sharing software or a common IT team. Others will adopt standard methodologies and processes. Fast followers will enable global digital exemplars to establish proven models that can be rolled out across the NHS more broadly.”

Previously Digital Health News reported in September that the approved mental health fast followers would receive £3 million in funding which will also be matched locally.