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UK sets up a £21 million AI Diagnostic Fund to accelerate patient diagnoses across the NHS

The Government of the UK is announcing a new investment fund that will help incorporate AI tools that aid timely medical diagnoses in patients across the National Health Service (NHS).

In a press release today, the UK government said that this winter it plans to accelerate the deployment of AI tools that can treat more and more people and help diagnose cancer, strokes, and heart conditions.

To achieve this, the Health and Social Care Secretary has announced a new £21 million ($26.6 million) fund called the AI Diagnostic Fund for the NHS. The fund will be up for bids for any AI diagnostic tool that trusts want to deploy and one that can add value to its users.

Additionally, the Health and Social Care Secretary has promised to deploy AI stroke-diagnosis technology to 100% of stroke networks by the end of 2023, up from 86% today, allowing more people to be treated for strokes faster.

The NHS Trust received this ring-fenced funding ahead of its 75th birthday. Ring-fenced funding is funding that is reserved for a specific purpose only, in this case, the deployment of AI technology across the NHS. The Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:

“Artificial intelligence is already transforming the way we deliver healthcare and AI tools are already making a significant impact across the NHS in diagnosing conditions earlier, meaning people can be treated more quickly.

As we celebrate the NHS’s 75th birthday and look ahead to the future, I’m focused on adopting the latest cutting-edge technology across our health and care system to ensure we can continue to deliver the best care for our patients and cut waiting times, which is one of the government’s five priorities.”

The AI Diagnostic Fund will also cater to patients diagnosed with lung cancer by including AI tools that analyze chest X-rays. The press release reports that each month in England 600,000 chest X-Rays are conducted to detect lung cancer. With the right AI tools, the NHS will be able to cut down the burden on clinicians and provide timely diagnoses to patients.

The fund will also enable the NHS Trusts to support the deployment of promising AI imaging and decision support tools to help diagnose patients more quickly.

Apart from this, the government has also invested £123 million into 86 AI technologies, that support stroke diagnosis, screening, cardiovascular monitoring, and help in managing conditions at home. The government also recently announced the AI & Digital Regulation Service to help NHS staff find the right information and guidance when it comes to deploying AI devices safely.

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