The West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) is calling for businesses and industry professionals in the region to express interest in its latest project to advance the local medical drone industry.

The AHSN is already working in partnership with Medilink Midlands and the Midlands Aerospace Alliance. It is now looking to forge new connections between the healthcare sector and the business community to speed up the adoption of drones for healthcare applications.

Tammy Holmes, head of delivery, innovation and commercial at West Midlands AHSN, said: “We are at the cusp of a revolutionary period in the health and care industry and technologies such as these will not only revolutionise the way care is provided, but it will also aid our local economy by creating new business and job opportunities.”

Businesses that take part in the project will be part of key initiatives that will help to transform the sector. For example, changes in legislation, and establishing the West Midlands as a national leader in the sector.

They will have the opportunity to join events, workshops and seminars, as well as take part in other knowledge sharing activities to keep ahead of the latest trends and developments in medical drones.

Chris Dyke, connectivity manager at Medilink Midlands, said:To solve the technical and logistical solutions for implementing drones into care pathways, we rely on collaboration between small and medium-sized businesses to get involved alongside bigger players, as well as regional and national organisations to help us nurture the growth of this new business environment.

“Ultimately, we collectively want to pioneer the creation of a regional centre of expertise for the medical-drone industry and sector.”

Applications are currently open and will close in January 2023.

Nicola Deards, technology manager at the Midlands Aerospace Alliance added: “There is a great opportunity here to bring together the disparate arms of drone development in the Midlands into a community that can maximise the chances of success in serving the medical sector in meaningful ways and build a world-beating capability.”

Elsewhere in the country, drone technology is being trialled to deliver medical samples between hospital sites. University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LHTR) have been optimising the operation of pathology labs and speeding up access to results with electrically-charged drones.