NHS Cheshire and Merseyside's Robotic Process Automation project shortlisted at the 2023 HSJ Awards

Text reads "HSJ Awards 2023. We are proud to be shortlisted. Integrated Care Initiative of the Year"
Text reads "HSJ Awards 2023. We are proud to be shortlisted. Integrated Care Initiative of the Year"

NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Digital Programme is delighted to announce that it’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) project has been shortlisted for ‘Integrated Care Initiative of the Year’ at the HSJ Awards, recognising an outstanding contribution to healthcare and securing a place at the prestigious awards ceremony later this year.

A ‘record-breaking’ 1,456 entries have been received for this year’s Awards, with 223 projects and individuals reaching the final shortlist, making it the biggest awards programme in the award’s 43-year history. The high volume - and exceptional quality – of applications once again mirrors the impressive levels of innovation and care continually being developed within the UK’s healthcare networks.

Following the thorough judging process, NHS Cheshire and Merseyside was shortlisted, ahead of the official awards ceremony to be held later this year (November 16th), with its Robotic Process Automation (RPA) project standing out as a real ‘success story’ worthy of a prized place on the panel’s shortlist.

The RPA project utilised Unified Technology Funding for Digital Productivity from NHS England’s Transformation Directorate, secured last year via an NHS Cheshire and Merseyside bid, to support ten Trusts in the Cheshire and Merseyside region to implement RPA software or to build on their existing automation capabilities.

We have harnessed the power of RPA technology (which uses digital workers or ‘robots’ that can mimic human beings in the workplace), to enable these ten Trusts to automate high-volume, manual, repetitive, and rule-based tasks, which has freed up time for clinical and/or non-clinical workforces to utilise more efficiently elsewhere.

By leveraging cutting-edge automation technologies, the aim of the project was to streamline and automate processes, such as those that support large scale data migration activities, referrals, repeat bloods, and patient-initiated follow-up,

to optimise staff time and enable our workforce to focus on more complex, patient-centred activities. Whilst RPA software also helped with enhancing process accuracy and reliability, minimising errors, and improving patient safety.

To achieve this, the project took an innovative ICS-led approach, supported by our partners at e18 Innovation, who work directly alongside our Trusts to ensure value for money and more importantly a return on investment from automation. The partnership facilitates collaboration and knowledge sharing to ensure successful outcomes.

John Llewellyn, Chief Digital and Information Officer at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said:


“I’m delighted that our Robotic Process Automation (RPA) project has been shortlisted for the ‘Integrated Care Initiative of the Year Award’, at this year’s HSJ Awards. As being shortlisted recognises not only our dedication to using digital technology and data to support our health and care staff, and ultimately the patients that we serve, but also our commitment to working in collaboration with our local NHS Trusts, National bodies, and Partners to achieve this to the best of our abilities’.

“That said, whatever the result ‘on the night’, we already feel like winners for getting this far and are so proud to have the opportunity to share our success with colleagues from across the entire sector, as well as showcasing everything that we’ve learnt through implementing our RPA project, to support other Integrated Care Systems and NHS Trusts who are exploring RPA or starting out on their own automation journeys. Additionally, we see RPA as an important capability in our tool kit and are keen to build on the work we’ve already done locally, by actively evaluating deployments in a range of care settings to address challenges in the healthcare system, such as capacity and demand in Primary Care and how we can improve our cancer pathways through automating diagnostic and referral processes.”

Louise Wall, Managing Director at e18 Innovation said:


“On behalf of the e18 Innovation team, I’d like to extend my congratulations to NHS Cheshire and Merseyside for being shortlisted in these prestigious healthcare awards and for all they’ve accomplished to date with their automation journey. Not only has the level of engagement and commitment to the RPA project from NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s Digital Programme team and local NHS Provider Trust’s teams been exemplary, but we’ve thoroughly enjoyed working in partnership with them to really drive this piece of work forwards and to see what they’ve been able to accomplish.

The project has already contributed towards the delivery of Trust-level and Integrated Care System-level strategic priorities of providing high-quality care in a more efficient and cost-effective way. And moving forwards we’re excited to continue to support NHS Cheshire and Merseyside in building on this work across key patient pathway programmes such as Cancer, Diagnostics, Elective Recovery, and Primary Care.”

HSJ editor Alastair McLellan, adds:


“It always gives me great pleasure to congratulate our finalists at this stage of the judging process and this year is no exception as we acknowledge NHS Cheshire and Merseyside for being shortlisted in the category of ‘Integrated Care Initiative of the Year’.

“It’s been so encouraging to hear that 2023 has been record-breaking in terms of the number of applicants and, as ever, the calibre of entries left our panel of expert judges with some tough decisions to deliberate over.

“However, it’s always important to remember that the HSJ Awards are not just a celebration of success stories but also a platform to shape the future of the NHS.

“We can’t wait to welcome our finalists to the awards ceremony in November and to recognise and applaud such impressive achievements across the sector – as well as coming together to help mark the 75th birthday of our great NHS. Huge thanks also go to our new headline partner, Vodafone, who share our mission of driving the standard of healthcare excellence and creating better patient experiences.”

The selected winners will be announced during the awards ceremony at Evolution London on November 16th 2023.

The event will not only reflect the HSJ Awards’ enduring ethos of “sharing best practice, improving patient outcomes and innovating drivers of better service” but will also serve as a timely and well-deserved thank you to the sector during the 75th anniversary year of the NHS.

The 2023 awards judging panel was once again made up of a diverse range of highly influential and respected figures within the healthcare community, including; Crystal Oldman, Chief Executive, Queen’s Nursing Institute; Dr Habib Naqvi MBE, Chief Executive, NHS Race and Health Observatory; Anne-Marie Vine-Lott, Director of Health, Vodafone; Sir Jim Mackey, National Director of Elective Recovery, NHS England, as well as a range of esteemed Chief Executives from NHS Trusts across the UK.

The full list of nominees for the 2023 HSJ awards can be found at: https://awards.hsj.co.uk/ alongside details of the Awards partners at: https://awards.hsj.co.uk/partners.