A HAMPSHIRE programme is backing a multi-million pound drive to design a hospital of the future.

UK Space Agency has launched £5m drive to design hospital of the future in collaboration with the Hampshire Together programme.

The government has invited the UK’s world-leading innovators to help design a new ‘space age’ hospital that could use technologies and techniques pioneered on missions to Mars or the International Space Station to help treat patients and make life easier for hard-working NHS staff.

Up to £5 million of UK Space Agency funding is available to support a joint initiative with the Hampshire Together: Modernising our Hospitals and Health Services programme.

The programme is part of the government’s Health Infrastructure Plan, which includes the provision of 40 new hospitals across England by 2030.

The space-enabled services could be inspired by a whole range of activities and technologies pioneered by the UK’s growing space sector, which currently contributes nearly £15 billion to GDP and supports 42,000 jobs.

They might include new diagnostic tools, improved logistics by tracing goods or using drones, improving hospital parking or better patient reach using tele-rehabilitation or care.

Tony Mears, Associate Director of Innovation for the Hampshire Together programme, said: “We are delighted to be working with the UK Space Agency as part of our programme. It opens up new opportunities for us in terms of innovation and technology and shows our commitment to incorporating new ideas into our plans for the future.

“The UK Space Agency has really helped the NHS to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19 and we are excited to see how we can use this innovation-by-nature sector to help provide the best health and care services for people across Hampshire in the future.”

The call for space-inspired ideas is supported by the European Space Agency’s Space Solutions, through their Business Applications programme, in which the UK is the leading investor.

The successful projects, which could be new ideas, or using technology that already exists in a different way to support healthcare, will then be incorporated in any new facility, as well as the wider health system.

Where appropriate, these ideas will also be used to improve services across the area before the construction of any new buildings.

For more information on how to apply for the funding go to www.business.esa.int/funding/intended-tender/nhs-future-hospitals-initiative