NHSX Digital Aspirant funding will mean more integrated health care for Walton Centre patients

In March 2021, NHSX announced The Walton centre will be included in the second wave of the Digital Aspirant programme – a project which helps trusts across the country digitise and progress towards paper-free patient record keeping. 

The country’s only specialist neurosciences trust is one of seven organisations to receive up to six million pounds each over the next three years to help deliver digital ambitions.

A key ambition of The Walton Centre is to make patient pathways through the hospital a more joined up, digital process. The hospital’s IT department have been steadily working towards paperless record keeping, but this new injection of funds will mean an increase in pace. 

Head of IT Justin Griffiths said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time! With the Digital Aspirant funding, we’re going to be able to accelerate projects and move closer to being a completely digital trust. 

“We’re in the process of writing our next three year digital strategy and this boost will help us deliver our ambitions. The plan is to review everything, from infrastructure and our digital maturity, to interoperability and how patients can benefit from state-of-the-art software. Our priority right now is to continue digitising records and ensuring these systems communicate with each other smoothly. The future will be digital systems working in harmony with clinicians, giving them a high level of support wherever possible.

“COVID-19 has shown us the potential in adapting to a more digital world for the benefit of both patients and staff, and I’m delighted we will be able to continue innovating and improving our digital offering.” 

The IT team is now bringing plans to digitise The Walton Centre’s Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) forward by a year, as the new funding will increase the resources which can be dedicated to future projects. 

Dr Sandeep Lakhani is the Divisional Clinical Director for Neurosurgery, he said: “ITU is a very complex environment, as some of the most complex patients with serious illnesses are treated on ITU.

“In emergency situations, ITU clinicians need urgent access to accurate patient information, so any transition to digital records needs to be smooth and efficient. Our IT department has been working out the best way to integrate more patient records within ITU with the rest of the trust’s electronic records.

“Bringing the project forward is a very welcome step and will make a huge difference to how we work and ultimately further improve the safety and quality of care for our patients.”

Interim Chief Executive Officer Jan Ross said: “It’s going to make an incredible difference to patient care. The funding will enable the Trust to bring the benefits of technology to every single patient as well as our staff.  Bringing more of the hospital online will be invaluable and will enable an even higher standard of care. I’m delighted we will be able to accelerate our plans sooner with this new funding.”