Strategic partnership to supercharge AI in healthcare for optimum patient outcomes

STFC’s Hartree Centre and the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to pioneer AI technologies for patient care.

Credit: Joel Goodman

The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre and the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust have announced a strategic partnership to advance Artificial Intelligence (AI) in healthcare across the Trust to optimise patient outcomes.

The collaboration is a pivotal step towards realising the potential of advanced digital technologies in NHS healthcare, to elevate the quality and effectiveness of patient care, and contribute to healthier lives.

The announcement closely follows Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget announcement of £3.4 billion funding to support digital transformation in the NHS as part of wider plans to boost productivity.

Addressing healthcare challenges

Under this strategic collaboration, the Hartree Centre and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust will embark on a series of scoping projects to explore the adoption and integration of advanced digital technologies, from AI to quantum computing.

These projects will specifically focus on mapping out pathways to enhance healthcare solutions, with a primary goal of optimising patient outcomes.

The intention is to address challenges across the board, including:

  • Outsmarting disease with faster and more accurate detection and diagnosis
  • More personalised healthcare
  • An upskilled workforce empowering healthcare professionals with the skills to harness digital technologies for improved productivity and patient care, with less time spent on administrative tasks
  • Advanced AI systems for enhanced prediction and decision-making across the board, including mental health care.

Unlocking the Power of AI

Located at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, as Sci-Tech Daresbury in the Liverpool City Region, the Hartree Centre is the UK’s only supercomputing centre dedicated to industry engagement.

It is home to some of the most advanced computing, data and AI technologies in the UK, enabling productivity, innovation, and growth in UK businesses and organisations.

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest NHS Trust in the country, serving over 1.4 million people and managing more than 3 million outpatient attendances annually. 

It is particularly renowned for its leadership and provision of mental health care to patients nationally.

Societal and economic benefit

Kate Royse, Director of the STFC Hartree Centre said:

Our mission is to equip UK industry with the knowledge, skills, and compute needed to fully unlock the potential of advanced digital technologies.

This collaboration is not just about technology; it’s about enhancing the digital skills of the UK NHS workforce and making digital technologies more accessible. From automating tasks, to monitoring at-risk patients, the ultimate aim is to optimise patient outcomes, to the benefit of the whole of society.”

Prof Joe Rafferty CBE, Mersey Care’s Chief Executive Officer, recently hosted a major expo of international tech leaders to set out his Trust’s vision of being an anchor institution in digital healthcare research.

We’re the largest provider of some of the most specialist mental healthcare in the NHS and the data we produce allows us to talk about the inter-relationship between physical, mental and social health.

Our vision is not merely to create a world class digital research centre but to deliver meaningful results to our patients, service users and our communities where we know health inequalities affect lives, economies and opportunity.

Prof Joe Rafferty

A pioneering digital economy

Paul Vernon, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said:

There’s never been a better time for UK organisations to take advantage of the incredible innovations happening within AI, and this collaboration is an exciting example of its real potential to generate long-term societal and economic impact.

By empowering UK industry to embrace cutting edge digital technologies, we are supporting the government’s vision of cultivating a competitive and pioneering digital economy, and to position the UK as a global AI superpower.

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