Multimillion pound payout for GP innovation

TEN companies will share in a multimillion pound windfall to develop new technologies aimed at easing GP workloads.

Awards ranging from £700,000 to £1 million will be used to fund innovations such as a low-cost test for sepsis, a self-care asthma monitor and a device that can tell the difference between viral and bacterial infections.

A total payout of £8.7 million has been announced by SBRI Healthcare, the NHS England initiative championed by 15 Academic Health Science Networks.

SBRI said the funding was in response to concerns over increasing GP workloads and was aimed at “future-proofing primary care and GP services.” The successful companies were chosen by a panel of experts who were “looking for game-changing technologies with the highest potential value to patients and the health service.”

Other winning technologies include a device that can perform immediate bacterial infection diagnosis and antibiotic susceptibility testing on urine samples within a GP setting, addressing the rising incidence of antimicrobial resistance that threatens to render current antibiotics ineffective.

Another innovation allows for automatic vital sign measurement while booking in with the receptionist, optimising the patient’s visit and maximising time with the GP. There is self-care software for those with musculoskeletal problems and a “virtual waiting room” that will ask patients questions to inform the GP consultation or direct them to alternative care.

Dr Jo Roberts, Clinical Lead for Innovation and Medicines Optimisation South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The SBRI Healthcare programme addresses challenges that those at the coal face of medicine are facing. I have been struck by the potential for revolutionary change to the management of patients and I particularly note those targeted at the ever growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.”

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