Blog post

What is the Unified Tech Fund?

The NHS digital funding

According to the NHS ICS Design Framework, NHS England will make financial allocations to every ICS. The spending decisions at the system level and budget distribution across partner organisations will then be the responsibility of each ICS.

From April 2022, thanks to the new Health and Social Care Levy, UK-wide healthcare funding will rise by a record £36 billion over the next 3 years. The new funding includes a commitment to ring-fence an additional £8 billion to fund waiting list recovery – the biggest catch-up programme in NHS history.

The levy funding is on top of the government’s previous historic long-term settlement for the NHS, which will see NHS funding increase by £33.9 billion to a total of £148.5 billion by 2023 to 2024, which has been enshrined in law.

At the time of writing this blog, it’s not evident how much funding each ICS will be allocated. However, we do know that Systems with the least mature digital infrastructure will be granted a significant portion of funding.

Despite the lack of clarity around exact ICS budget allocations, we can turn to NHSX for specifics on digital spending plans throughout the ICS transition via the Unified Tech Fund.

Funding aims

This prospectus outlines the scope and criteria for application to the various national funds that seek to:

  • level up the digital maturity of NHS trusts and consortia
  • ensure a basic shared care record is in place within all ICSs
  • level up cyber security capabilities, address key infrastructure and other specific weaknesses, with continued provision of back-up reviews
  • remediate specific cyber security vulnerabilities
  • scale what we know works to improve productivity throughout health and care
  • support the digitisation of the pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, ambulance and community services sectors, and improve interoperability
  • increase system capacity and resilience of diagnostic services. Improve safety and experience for patients and staff through digital capability and reduce manual processes
  • implement digital solutions that will enable elective recovery
  • improve outcomes for women and pregnant people and also to improve safety of clinical care
  • increase the adoption of digital social care records, implementing or scaling falls prevention technologies and developing underpinning infrastructure

Funding amount

  • The amount of funding allocated to the UTF, and available to NHS organisations throughout the 2021-2022 financial year is £938 million.
  • The table below outlines the breakdown of funding allocated for technology services.

Please note that the closing dates shown refer to the deadline for ICS buyers to apply for funding, not the deadline for suppliers to get involved.

The funding allocated for technology services through the UTF

Elective Recovery Technology (ERT) Fund

Sample of one fund within the UTF; the regional funding allocated via the ERTF

Each fund within the UTF will need to distribute the allocated budget to each ICS region. At the time of writing this report, the only fund to have released information on where money is flowing across the UK is the Elective Recovery Technology (ERT) fund.

We expect the breakdown of budget allocation within each UTF to be announced as we approach the new July 1 deadline.

The table below explains the ERT funding distribution across the UK. The ICSs within these regions will then be allocated a portion of this funding depending on the maturity of their existing ERT infrastructure.

💡 Stotles tip: To help suppliers stay ahead of their competition, we’ve created the Stotles ERT opportunity feed; a feed of existing and upcoming ERT initiatives across a handful of ICSs across the UK. Use this feed to keep track of opportunities as soon as they hit the market, or chat to our team about curating a feed of opportunities relevant to your business.

Once ICSs take legal shape in July 2022, we’ll learn more about how each of the ICS regions will receive funding and how it will be allocated across the 42 IC organisations across the country. To learn more about the geographical landscape of ICSs, read this blogpost. LINK

Despite the current ambiguity on overall funding, one thing is clear: the ICS transition will result in a tremendous amount of funding toward digitising the NHS, creating an enormous number of opportunities for technology suppliers to work with the public sector. For a deeper look into another fund making waves in the space; the Targeted Investment Fund, read this blogpost.

To learn more about the ICS transition, download our in-depth report; Digitising a changing NHS: The opportunities emerging for tech suppliers through the ICS transition, or sign up to Stotles today.

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