NHS creates £15m framework for use of AI in treating strokes

Written by Sam Trendall on 7 October 2020 in News
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Health service’s NHS SBS joint venture seeks suppliers for procurement vehicle

Credit: Liz West/CC BY 2.0

The NHS is seeking suppliers to support a £15m framework that will enable health-service bodies to use artificial intelligence in the diagnosing and treating strokes.

The aim is to provide for the use of AI tools in studying images produced by scans. This, the NHS believes, could allow for earlier diagnosis of strokes, thereby improving the treatment offered and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

The deal, which will not be split into lots and has no target number of providers, is being run by NHS Shared Business Services – a joint venture between IT consultancy Sopra Steria and the Department of Health and Social Care. The framework will run for an initial two-year period, with the option to extend this by a further 24 months. 


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“Stroke is an often debilitating or fatal clinical event,” the contract notice said. “However, if the stroke is analysed early and well using medical imaging, it is possible for clinicians to significantly improve outcomes for patients. This saves lives and improves people’s quality of life. However, getting these treatment decisions wrong can lead to further strokes and disability for patients. Stroke is one of the most time critical conditions and may only be reliably diagnosed and treated following a brain scan; usually a CT scan or MRI scan.”

It added: “This framework aims to provide AI solutions that support the analysis of medical imaging for ischaemic or haemorrhagic strokes and to support clinicians diagnose and treat strokes faster and more reliably. The NHS needs to work in the most efficient ways possible and maximise value for money in delivering its services through the purchases it makes for products and services. The framework aims to provide a simple, effective, efficient and compliant route to purchase [and] supply the range of stroke AI products and services for both NHS Customers and suppliers through means of either direct call-off or further competition if required.”

Suppliers wishing to bid for a spot on the buying vehicle have until midday on 4 November to bid for a spot on the framework. The deal is scheduled to come into effect two months after this.

The launch of the framework comes a month after government announced it was to put an extra £50m funding into using AI tools to improve diagnoses of cancer and other diseases.

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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