Government to fund AI technology centres for healthcare

The UK government will open five technology centres of excellence across the UK to explore the advances in medical AI. These centres are aimed at improving patient care on the NHS’s and speeding up diagnosis.

Announced by business secretary Greg Clark, the centres will bring together doctors, businesses and academics to develop products that use advances in digital technology to improve early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer.

The centres are a part of the government’s Industrial Strategy and will be based in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London, but will work with other partners around the country.

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“AI has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and improve lives for the better,” said Clark. “That’s why our modern Industrial Strategy puts pioneering technologies at the heart of our plans to build a Britain fit for the future.

“The innovation at these new centres will help diagnose disease earlier to give people more options when it comes to their treatment, and make reporting more efficient, freeing up time for our much-admired NHS staff time to spend on direct patient care.”

The aim of the centres is to develop medical treatments that both speed up treatments and free medical staff up so they can spend more time caring for patients. By investing in large-scale genomics and image analysis, the centres hope to uncover a greater understanding of how complex diseases develop.

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The centres will be funded through the government’s Industrial Strategy and will be spearheaded by some of the UK’s leading medical companies including GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips, Leica, Canon and Roche Diagnostics.

Speaking about the benefits to the NHS, health secretary Matt Hancock said that technologies such as AI will transform the organisation.

“Artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in the future of the NHS,” he said. “And, we need to embrace it by introducing systems which can speed up diagnoses, improve patient outcomes, make every pound go further and give clinicians more time with their patients.

“As part of our long-term plan, we will transform the NHS into an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation that allows technology to flourish and evolve.”

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