12 NHS hospital trusts chosen to blaze digital trail

12 NHS hospital trusts have been selected to trail blaze new ways of using digital technology to drive radical improvements in the care of patients.

The trusts will be known as ‘digital exemplars’ and will receive up to £10 million each from NHS England.

It is hoped that the phased approach to digital implementation will inspire a digital revolution across the health service. It follows the recommendations of an independent review on how the NHS can use technology to improve services, which was published by health IT expert Professor Bob Wachter.

NHS England previously announced the appointment of a national chief clinical information officer, Professor Keith McNeil, a senior medical leader and former transplant specialist. His remit is to ensure that the use of technology across the NHS is focused on direct clinical benefit as the NHS progresses in implementing its technology strategy.

The 12 ‘digital exemplars’ will deliver a range of initiatives including:


  • Real time video links between ambulances and emergency departments to support better care during journeys to hospital
  • Electronic detection and alerting of patient deteriorations such as sepsis
  • Online systems which reduce medication errors by up to half by managing the monitoring of patients more effectively and alerting clinicians.


The digital exemplars will get funding to invest in digital infrastructure such as Wi-Fi to deliver benefits for patients and doctors, nurses and other NHS staff. They will also share learning and resources with other NHS organisations through networks.

The trusts selected are:


  • City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Salford Royal Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Luton & Dunstable University Hospital NHS Trust
  • West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
  • University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.


Matthew Swindells, National Director for Operations and Information at NHS England, said: “Digital technology has a key role to play in enabling the NHS to deliver better care, improve health outcomes and increase efficiency and now is absolutely the time for the entire health and care system to grasp it with both hands.”