Primary Care Automation Grants funding opportunity

    April 14, 2022

    The NHS England London Digital First Programme is a funding opportunity to pilot automation solutions within primary care. Automation grants are available up to £65k each for pilots and projects across London.

    Please note that new applications for this funding opportunity closed on Monday 18 July 2022.

    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  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 are open to:

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

    Programme Timeline

    The application period closed at 9am on Monday 18 July. Please do not submit any further applications.

    For more information please contact

    You can watch our webinar on the grants below, and access the slides here. 

    Important: If you are planning to submit an application, we strongly recommend contacting your ICS Digital First Programme Team in advance. Those in NW London are asked to bid jointly with their ICS Digital First Team to ensure alignment with the existing NW London automation programme. If you require contact details for your ICS Digital First Team please contact

    The successful pilot sites were announced by the HIN and NHSE (London) Digital First in October 2022. The resulting pilot summary report was published in April 2023, and provides a wealth of recommendations, resources and learnings, assisting with future automation journeys. The full report can be read here.

    Download the report

    Read the full Primary Care AI and Automation Grants Scheme pilot summary report to learn more about the benefits and obstacles of implementing these technologies in primary care settings.

    Download the report