Liverpool to get AI hub for health and social care

Artificial intelligence platform set to use NHS Integrated Care System Data to make better and decisions for patients in Liverpool, with a focus on mental health services

University of Liverpool’s Civic Health Innovation Labs (CHIL) and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust will adopt an AI decision intelligence platform from supplier Quantexa to improve care for patients.

CHIL has received £4.9m in funding from the Office for Life Sciences (OSL) for a data-action accelerator project, which will be used to implement the AI platform.

Within the university’s innovation lab is the Mental Health Research for Innovation Centre, a partnership between the university and the NHS trust, aiming to tackle global challenges in mental health.

Director of CHIL and associate pro-vice-chancellor for innovation at the university, Iain Buchan, said that the partnership will allow patients to benefit from data and AI technologies.

“We are focusing on the global challenge of rising mental health conditions, which hits the most disadvantaged members of society hardest,” he said. “As mental and physical health conditions are deeply intertwined, especially in deprived areas like Liverpool, our work will underpin actions to improve patient journeys across whole systems of health and social care – establishing Liverpool as a global hub for health systems AI.”  

Supplier Quantexa will now work with them to harness AI enabled decision intelligence technology, connecting several data sources into a trusted data foundation which looks to equip researchers, care teams and patients to access, co-create and benefit from research into mental health. The aim is to be able to develop better drug and digital therapies, as well as co-ordinating care services.

CEO of Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Joe Rafferty, said mental health “is a crucial component of overall wellbeing, but many people face barriers to accessing and receiving adequate care, especially in underserved areas”. 

“Our aim is to improve mental healthcare and treatments through advancing our understanding of how mental, physical and social conditions are interlinked and developing innovative research that brings together our service users with clinicians, academia and industry,” he said. 

“Working with partners such as Quantexa, alongside our colleagues in the University of Liverpool, we can use data and AI to achieve better quality care for patients with mental health needs, and ultimately, better health outcomes and wellbeing for all.”  

Earlier in March 2024, NHS England announced that 10 trusts across the country will be getting AI software to reduce waiting times and cut the number of missed appointments in the NHS. 

As part of chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, the NHS received £3.4bn, which will be used for a number of technology projects, including a series of pilots to test the ability of AI to automate back-office functions. 

Other Spring Budget announcements relating to technology included a £7.4m AI upskilling fund to help small businesses develop AI skills; two pilots aimed at improving use of data and AI in education and adult social care; and £100m investment for the Alan Turing Institute over the next five years.

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