22 NHS trusts receive funding for sickle cell tech in South East London

South East London ICS has shared that £1.5 million in funding for devices designed to automate red blood cell exchanges for patients with sickle cell disease has been distributed to 22 NHS trusts.

The funding, sourced from NHS England Specialised Commissioning, will go to the implementation of Spectra Optia® Apheresis System devices, described as a “therapeutic apheresis, cell processing and cell collection platform”. Continuous-flow centrifugation and optical detection technology is utilised to allow operators to perform a variety of procedures through a single solution, with features including automated interface management, fluid management support and an interactive touch screen designed to guide users through each step of the protocol.

The ICS notes that sickle cell patients can often find themselves in need of regular visits to hospital, requiring regular blood transfusions and “enduring severe pain”. Automating red blood cell exchanges is said to “help reduce the necessity for top-up transfusions, effectively manage pain, and lower the risk of experiencing a crisis.”

Trusts implementing the devices include King’s College Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’, Lewisham and Greenwich and St George’s University Hospitals, with the devices expected to be ready to treat patients by the end of March.

The technology has been supported through NHS England’s MedTech Funding Mandate, aiming to accelerate adoption of medical tech, diagnostics and digital products recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The Health Innovation Network is the mandate’s lead delivery partner, with NHSE’s director of research, innovation, life sciences and strategy Verena Stocker calling this innovation “a great example of how working collaboratively across organisations helps accelerate the uptake of life-changing innovations.”

Verena added: “We are committed to bringing the best health technologies to patients more quickly, supporting the spread and adoption of medical devices, diagnostics, and digital products that are clinically effective.”

Also on sickle cell disease, last summer we shared how NHS England, the NHS Race and Health Observatory and the NHS Innovation Accelerator announced a targeted call for innovations addressing Core20PLUS5 health inequalities, targeting sickle cell, maternity and elective care.

In other news from the capital, we recently published our interview with North East London ICB’s CCIO Dr Osman Bhatti, in addition to news around a digital academy launched in North London and the news that three new trusts joined the London Care Record.