NHSx, the UK’s NATIONAL HEALTH service innovation arm, has launched a funding competition of half a million pounds to fund innovators and start-ups who can find digital ways to help those in need during the outbreak,media reported. The fund will focus on technical initiatives to help those with mental health support and social care needs, as well as support those who may be most adversely affected by long stays at home.
The project, called Techforce19, was initiated by NHSx and will be managed by GOVTech venture capital firm PUBLIC. The company said it would not receive any fees for hosting the competition.
The application deadline is 12 pm on April 1 and the selected project will be announced on April 3. Each company can receive up to ?25,000 in funding to provide solutions for innovators, which are likely to be deployed on a large scale in the coming weeks, which may include:
– Provision of remote social care;
– Optimizing the nursing and volunteer sectors;
– Improving mental health support;
– Implement any other solutions to relieve the stress of services and personnel during this period.
Announcing the fund, Matt Hancock, the state secretary for health and social care, said: “Staying at home and avoiding contact with others is absolutely essential to reduce the spread of the virus and ultimately save lives. However, we know that isolation is not easy – especially for the elderly, those who live alone, people who have mental health problems or care for others. If people can’t leave the house, we need to find a way to support them as soon as possible. Today, I call on our innovation and technology sector to address this challenge. “
Matthew Gould, chief executive of NHSX, said: “Technology can play an important role in helping countries meet the challenges posed by the new coronavirus. The focus of this competition is on isolated issues that apply to digital solutions. It will allow NHSX to speed up the development of these solutions so that within weeks they can help those who suffer from loneliness, mental health problems and other problems. “
The UK government strongly recommends that everyone in the country – especially those over 70, who have a basic disease or a pregnant woman – reduce social activity to minimise the spread of the virus. Those who were considered most likely to have serious complications, such as those who received cancer treatment, were also required to stay at home for 12 weeks to protect them from the virus.