Aquarate, the NHS and the Dawn of a Digital Age

The Aquarate team has been in hospital recently. Nothing life threatening. In fact, we are confident that the trials of our AQI fluid balance products  will lead to a life enhancing system for some NHS patients. Working alongside the stalwarts on the front line of health care, it caused us look back to where the NHS began, and to consider how this beloved national institution will harness the technological age that is already upon us.

The Birth of an Ideal

in a photo the velcro is represented

Nineteen forty-eight was a good year. That was the year the very first supermarket opened its doors, polo mints were the ‘hole new sweet’, Velcro zipped onto the market and ladies tights were the latest convenient fashion item. We had to wait until 1955 for fish fingers and it was a full twenty five years later that a privileged few would hold the first cell ‘phones. But on 5th July 1948 thirteen year old Sylvia Beckingham was admitted to hospital and treated for a liver condition. Given hindsight, nothing unusual in that you might think, but Sylvia was the very first NHS patient. It really was a great year in British history.

Aneurin Bevan, the charismatic Labour Health Minister, had to fight tooth and nail for this breakthrough. Conservative MPs along with many prominent consultants and doctors were furiously opposed to the idea. Even the Labour cabinet was divided. But this was the birth of an idea, an ideal and a treasure that has been taken to heart by our nation. Based on four principles – free at the point of use, available to everyone who needed it, paid for out of general taxation and used responsibly.

Challenging Step Change Transformation

The NHS was launched with a total hospital staff of just over 68,000 and only 12,799 doctors who were willing to participate at the time.

Today there are106,430 doctors, 285,893 nurses and health visitors and over a hundred thousand scientific, therapeutic and technical staff.  Caring for over 1 million patients every 36 hours, with an expanding population, there are huge challenges ahead.

Describing the state of current NHS systems, Junior Doctor, Nadia Masood, part of a Justice for Health campaign who recently took Jeremy Hunt, the Health Minister at the time, to task, said

“It’s archaic, slow, fragile and not streamlined… Much of the tech is from the 1980s. We still rely on pagers, or are hanging on the end of a telephone. That slows us down and it’s really dangerous.”

Clearly, something needs to give.

In the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in October 2014 there is an acknowledgement that digital technology is the step change needed to transform patient engagement, improve the efficiency and co-ordination of care, and support people to manage their health and wellbeing.

Since September 2016 the NHS has launched 16 Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) acute trusts. These are the most advanced IT hospitals in the country and have been tasked to develop a blueprint for the future digital NHS.

Aquarate, an Innovation Partner

The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust and Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust were both named GDEs. In November 2017, Aquarate was invited to be part of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital GDE programme.

Aquarate’s Founder, Rebecca, has been granted an honorary contract and is delighted to be working in collaboration with Mike Fisher, Clinical Director of the Innovation Hub at the hospital in order to develop Aquarate’s fluid monitoring system.

“This gives us invaluable advice on certification, potential partnerships with other industry leaders and, crucially, access to patients in order to test our products”. Check out our products.

Keeping You Up-to-Date

We’d love to keep you posted on how the Aquarate fluid balance system is progressing, and feedback on our recent hospital trials. Sign up with your email below to receive our regular Newsletter.  

Leave a Reply