‘Don’t forget the fundamentals’, CSP advises, as £250 million pledged for AI healthcare

The CSP has welcomed a government announcement that £250 million will be provided to the NHS, to develop pioneering new treatments, artificial intelligence and health research.

The government plans to develop a state of the art national artificial intelligence lab

However, the society suggests that the government also needs to focus on more basic IT and data-related issues, such as ensuring that all community-based staff have digital access to patients’ health records, as well as the necessary hardware to allow them to work efficiently and offer the best care to their patients.

Euan McComiskie, CSP health informatics lead, said: ‘We recognise that there is a huge opportunity with the development and use of AI in healthcare, so we welcome this investment and the opportunities it may bring, but it is imperative that national funding is also provided to solve the more basic healthcare IT demands.

‘With three quarters of NHS computers still running Windows 7 just a few months before support is cut off, and 2,300 computers running Windows XP for which support ended five years ago, there is still much to do at a basic level for frontline clinicians.’

National AI laboratory


Details of the government’s new investment plans include the development of a national artificial intelligence lab, which could

  • improve cancer screening by speeding up the results of tests, including mammograms, brain scans, eye scans and heart monitoring, helping to save millions of lives a year
  • use predictive models to better estimate future needs of beds, drugs, devices, or surgeries
  • identify which patients could be more easily treated in the community, reducing the pressure on the NHS and helping patients receive treatment closer to home
  • identify patients most at risk of diseases such as heart disease or dementia, allowing for earlier diagnosis and cheaper, more focused, personalised prevention
  • automate routine admin tasks to free up clinicians so more time can be spent with patients

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