Primary Care Automation Grants funding opportunity

Primary Care Automation Grants funding opportunity

Posted on April 14

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The NHS England London Digital First Programme would like to make you aware of an upcoming funding opportunity to pilot automation solutions within primary care. They’ll be funding automation grants of up to £65k each for pilots and projects across London.

The Problem

Several tools which aim to improve primary care efficiency through automation have emerged in recent years. However, the benefits and limitations of these systems are not well understood. Following wide engagement across London, the need for reducing administrative and clinical burden in order to free up resources to focus on patient outcomes has been identified.

That’s why the London Digital First Team has secured funding to run a grants programme to drive and better understand the use of automation in primary care.

What is automation?

Automation refers to the design and implementation of technologies to provide services with minimal human involvement. Automating high-volume, repetitive, rule-based tasks can improve productivity, efficiency, reliability, compliance, speed and accuracy, colleague morale, and integration between people and process. This can help free up clinical and administrative staff so they can focus on securing the best possible outcomes for patients.

Automation can range from simple add-ons for existing administrative and clinical systems to implementing more complex software ‘bots’ that emulate human operations.

Examples of automation might include auto-filing/processing of pathology results, patient self-booking of appointments, automated coding of correspondence and recall/review systems.

What does this programme aim to do?

  • Deliver cost and time savings in primary care.
  • Understand the practicalities and impact of a variety of automation solutions in primary care.
  • Improve overall patient care and experience across London.


  • This programme will fund a maximum of 10 automation grants across London to a value of up to £65k.
  • Pilots/projects across all London Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) can apply.
  • Successful applicants will deliver pilots/projects for 12 months post-award (inclusive of pre-project and development time).
  • Pilots will be monitored against agreed metrics, and progress and learning will be reported quarterly back to the central grants team.
  • A final evaluation report will look at outcomes of the project and discuss results, sustainability, spread and adoption of the project.


Applications will be open to:

  • All primary care providers within London on standard GMS contracts.
  • Individual practices or practices working together (e.g. PCNs, federations).

Indicative Programme Timeline

There will be an Automation Grants webinar on 18 May from 12-1pm to answer questions about the programme and the application process. The application period opens 23 May for eight weeks. Details on how to register for the May webinar will be published in due course.

Full information about how and when to apply will be available on this page. If you have any questions, please contact: