A GPS app that tracks where porters and available beds are in hospitals is one of a number of innovative ideas which has won funding as the Government strives to make the “NHS the most technologically advanced healthcare system in the world”.

Another winning project will see patients who have suffered a stroke use Virtual Reality (VR) headsets to help them recover, while a new technology will increase the range of medicines that can be delivered by skin patches.

The projects will collectively receive more than £17 million of funding to develop their innovations through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, managed by UK Research and Innovation.

The GPS app has been developed by Oxford-based Navenio, which has been working with the University of Oxford to develop the service, described as an “Uber for porters”.

Chester-based Cadscan is delivering the VR headsets to help stroke patients, while Medherant, a pharmaceutical company based in Coventry, West Midlands, is applying a new technology that should greatly increase the range of medicines that can be delivered by skin patches.

This could be particularly beneficial for patients where traditional tablets are difficult to administer, such as very small children or the frail elderly.

Intract Pharma, in Cambridge, are testing a new technology that will allow antibodies to be taken orally, rather than through invasive injections, while FabRx, in Ashford, Kent​, are developing a 3D printing process to manufacture tablets.

This will allow the desktop production of medicines with their doses tailored to individual patients, potentially combining several medicines into a single pill.

Companies from Devon, Cumbria, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Cardiff will also benefit from the funding.


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Innovative technology has the potential to truly transform healthcare for patients and staff.

“From artificial intelligence to VR to live tracking of hospital beds and equipment, there are so many ways in which the NHS is embracing tech.

“We are determined to make the NHS the most technologically advanced healthcare system in the world and today’s prizes will help progress towards that goal.”

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Technology is revolutionising industries across our economy, and new innovations play a key role in advancing our healthcare sector to make sure people are living longer, healthier and happier lives.

“By pooling the expertise of the public and private sectors, as highlighted through the Life Sciences Sector Deal and the modern Industrial Strategy, we are making every opportunity to reach our full potential in finding new discoveries and technologies to diagnose illnesses earlier that could lead to more lives being saved.”