The Department of Health and Social Care have announced plans to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) across the NHS to diagnose deadly diseases such as cancer.
A NHS funding boost
The implications of artificial intelligence across healthcare and pharmaceuticals are becoming increasingly apparent. Now, with a £50 million funding boost in diagnostic centres of excellence, AI technologies will allow for faster diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. According to the announcement, these centres will boost diagnostic capabilities, improve outcomes for millions of patients and free up NHS staff time.
The funding is expected to boost scale up of existing Digital Pathology and Imaging Artificial Intelligence Centres of Excellence, which were launched in 2018. The government launched these centres to develop cutting-edge digital tools to help diagnose disease. The three centres based in Coventry, Leeds and London will expect to receive a share of this funding. Subsequently, these centres will develop and deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS trusts. In turn, this will benefit 26.5 million patients across England. Pathology and imaging services are critical in the diagnosis of disease. Therefore, this funding will be key in developing more accurate diagnostic tools and getting closer to personalised treatment. In addition, the department claimed that this will free up the time of clinicians and hopefully help save more lives.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, stated:
“Technology is a force for good in our fight against the deadliest diseases – it can transform and save lives through faster diagnosis, free up clinicians to spend time with their patients and make every pound in the NHS go further.
I am determined we do all we can to save lives by spotting cancer sooner. Bringing the benefits of artificial intelligence to the frontline of our health service with this funding is another step in that mission. We can support doctors to improve the care we provide and make Britain a world-leader in this field.”
A wider commitment
This new funding is part of a wider UK government commitment to saving more lives every year. Specifically, they aim to detect 75% of all cancers at an early stage by the year 2028. The ongoing pandemic has had a detrimental impact on cancer treatment and cancer patients. The government ensure that cancer diagnosis and treatment have been an absolute priority throughout the pandemic and this will continue. Furthermore, they urge individuals if they are concerned about possible symptoms to contact their GP.