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Salford launches first NHS GDE blueprint

A digital assessment tool to detect delirium and dementia, developed by staff at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, is being rolled out as one of the first national NHS blueprints.

Salford Royal’s new electronic assessment tool for delirium is helping patients and their families by accurately diagnosing more patients with delirium.

It is the first of its kind in NHS England and, as such, will now be shared as a blueprint across the rest of the NHS.

Dr Emma Vardy, Consultant Geriatrician and Clinical Dementia Lead, said: “Our ambition has been to help other NHS organisations to identify delirium early. Once identified, we can treat patients quicker and improve outcomes.

“Here at Salford Royal, we have developed a gold standard assessment tool to increase screening of over 65s on admission to hospital, and those who become newly confused as an inpatient. It also triggers the right patient treatment and management packages and guides referral on to other services.

"We have worked hard to package this piece of work and develop a ‘blueprint’ which will guide other organisations through the process and methodology, helping them do the same thing and get results for their patients.”

 Figures from Salford Royal’s first year of using the tool show a reduction in average length of hospital stay for patients with delirium. It has increased screening for over 65-year-olds, with the number of identified cases per year having risen by 34% and the length of stay for these patients has reduced by 11%, saving an estimated £1.7m in the first year.

Readmissions for delirium patients has also reduced from 15% to 13% saving an estimated £101,000 for the same period.

The Delirium and Dementia project was launched in 2017 as part of the NHS Global Digital Exemplar programme when Salford Royal was chosen to be one of 16 acute NHS Trusts to become a GDE.

The project is one of a series that are being rolled out through the publication of toolkits, known as blueprints, so any NHS hospital can adopt them quickly and easily to transform patient care.

Will Smart, chief information officer for Health and Care, said:

“The NHS Long Term Plan set out our ambitions for a world class digital NHS using the best available technology.

“Our blueprinting work will help NHS trusts drive their use of digital far more quickly and cost effectively than has been possible in the past, adopting successful technology and projects that have already made an impact elsewhere.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“I love the NHS - and am determined to do everything I can to make sure it offers the very best service possible to patients. These are fantastic examples of how modern technology has the potential to save lives – and I want to see more of this. 

“We have the opportunity to build the most advanced health and care system in the world and harness the full potential of technology to improve the lives of patients and empower people to take greater control of their own healthcare. Innovations like these can help the NHS achieve its bold ambitions in the Long Term Plan to create a preventative, predictive and world-leading health service which is fit for the future.” 

Created by NHS Trusts, the GDE blueprints are a guide for hospitals that explain how a particular system or innovation was developed and introduced, and the benefits it has had. They detail all the components needed for sustainable digital transformation such as; organisational leadership and culture, technical and configuration guidance, clinical and staff engagement as well as the people and processes required to successfully deliver the benefits of new technology.

NHS England will publish more blueprints throughout this year. For more information please visit

To access the blueprint, please visit



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