30,000 iPads to be sent to ambulance trusts

NHS England has announced today that 30,000 iPads will be provided to support ambulance crews across England.

Funded by NHSX, the investment aims to see the introduction of up-to-date technology used across ambulance crews, and provide the functionality to support use cases such as the ability to send pictures of patients directly to emergency departments, ahead of the patient’s arrival.

Mike Carey, ePCR Programme Manager, from East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said of the current situation in a session as part of HTN Now: “We currently have ambulance-issued tough-books which are very old and out of support, very much at the end of their life to the extent that we can no longer find or buy the spare parts to fix them when needed. We’re now moving towards introducing 3,000 – 4,000 iPads.”

Sir Simon Stevens, commented: “Ambulance crews have been at the forefront of the pandemic, routinely dealing with life and death situations and often first on the scene to treat and diagnose critically ill patients.

“These devices are another tool for our highly skilled paramedics and ambulance technicians as they continue to respond to the country’s most critically ill and injured patients.

“It is another example of the health service innovating and harnessing technology to improve patient care as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.”

Stephen Bromhall, CIO, East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust, told us last month as part of HTN Now: “We have dictated that we want to be aligned to the full NHS Long Term Plan around providing digitisation by 2024. The strategic objectives set by the trust include, to deliver an electronic patient care record, improve the patient experience through greater coordination of patient pathways, improve data collection and structured data, improve quality from system to clinical decision making and population health management.”

A trial of the devices took place in London and the Southeast where early evidence showed that they improved efficiency. The iPads will be supplied to ambulance crews based on need but in areas of higher priority, an iPad will be given to every ambulance crew.

To read more about ambulance trusts and their digital future, we hosted a discussion with the East of England NHS Ambulance Trust, read more here.