Roundup: Ex-Sainsbury’s boss to join test and trace, IT failure forces near complete closure of acute hospital and more briefs thumbnail

Roundup: Ex-Sainsbury’s boss to join test and trace, IT failure forces near complete closure of acute hospital and more briefs


Portugal-based Critical Manufacturing has announced a global services partnership with FrontWell Solutions, a Germany-based company focused on consulting and project delivery for manufacturing industries.

Under the partner agreement, FrontWell Solutions will build capability to consult and implement Critical Manufacturing’s modern Manufacturing Execution System (MES) to customers in compliance-driven industries, including medical device, pharmaceutical, aerospace and defense, and automotive segments.

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“We are pleased to add FrontWell Solutions to our partner program,” said Francisco Almada Lobo, CEO at Critical Manufacturing.

“It continues our momentum of selecting only best-in-class partners and solutions providers to consult and implement our Industry 4.0-ready MES. FrontWell Solutions brings both regional expertise as well as global implementation capabilities, which match well with our desire to serve customers on a local basis, and scale for global rollouts.”


As the COVID-19 pandemic persists and countries with eID reap the benefits, governments around the world are putting digital ID platforms at the top of their priority lists.

“The pandemic has put electronic identification at the top of the priority lists of many developing countries,” said Mindaugas Glodas, CEO at NRD Companies, a global IT consortium specialising in e-solutions developing and consulting.

“IDs have become a necessary component of digital transformation initiatives for governments around the world, ensuring transparency, security and efficiency of e-public services they are eager to deliver to citizens,” explains Glodas. 

NRD Companies, with the support from its global partners such as the World Bank, AfDB, European Commission and others, recently hosted an international webinar on national digital identity.


Royal Free London FT’s Chase Farm Hospital had to close the majority of its services last week due to an IT failure.

The IT issues also closed the emergency department at the trust’s Barnet Hospital with ambulances diverted to other hospitals and patients told not to attend.

Later in the day, Barnet’s emergency department was open again and accepting ambulances.

Patients with a blood test, scan or chemotherapy appointment were told to attend as normal and updated with “your clinician will advise you if your appointment is able to go ahead and it may be delayed.”


According to new data from leading technology investor Mangrove Capital Partners, (52%) of UK adults would be willing to share their mobile data with the UK Government for a limited time period if it helped to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

The research, which was carried out by YouGov and follows the launch of the NHS Coronavirus contact tracing app. 

So far, the NHS contact tracing app does not provide any data to the government on the spread of the virus or potential hotspots. As such it will not help the Government to identify emerging outbreaks.

“Until we have a vaccine, data is our best weapon to defeat the virus,” comments Mark Tluszcz, CEO of Mangrove Capital Partners. “The kind of data we share with Facebook every day could be used to improve our understanding of the virus and track its spread. But a lack of technology expertise, misunderstandings around data privacy and a deficiency of will have severely limited the scope of track and trace solutions. This is a serious failure of our system of governance.”


The former chief executive of Sainsbury’s is to join NHS Tests and Trace as testing director, replacing chief executive Sarah-Jane Marsh who is currently running it.

Mike Coupe will replace Marsh at the end of October who is returning to her substantive post as chief executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT.

Interim executive chair of NHS Test and Trace, Baroness Dido Harding, said in an email to staff that Coupe “will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation.”

Marsh took over the agency in mid-May and has overseen an expansion in testing capacity, which failed to keep ahead of demand over the summer, sparking concern over the agencies management.


Researchers from INSIGHT, the Health Data Research Hub for eye health, and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT are warning of the risk of reinforcing healthcare inequalities if new AI health technologies are based on unrepresentative datasets.

In recent years, academic and commercial organisations have been developing artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital health technologies based on publicly available datasets. There is little information about how many datasets exist or the diversity of people and health conditions represented within them, which could lead to the development of technologies that only work for certain groups or countries.

Caroline Cake, CEO of Health Data Research UK said, “The coming generation of digital health technologies are only as good as the data we use to develop them, and this new study highlights the fact that datasets must be representative and inclusive if these tools are to be relevant and applicable to all. We are committed to working with our national and international partners to ensure that advances in digital healthcare bring benefits to everyone.”


UK-based Cambrionix has developed a way for healthcare providers to manage the multiple shared mobile devices that they now depend on for the daily delivery of medical services.

ModIT is a compact, customisable, modular, hardware solution for workplace access to shared smartphones.

Made up of different flexible modules, ModIT enables IT managers – or anyone responsible for mobile devices – in the healthcare sector to build a charging and storing station and management system.

Offering different levels of functionality, the main ModIT modules available are:

  • The Boss: For managing the ModIT system and bolting on a computer of your choice. This module includes a touch screen and an RFID reader to simplify checking devices in and out.
  • The Charging Station: For the efficient charging of up to 16 devices from one socket. Three different variants of this module are available depending on individual workplace needs; and multiple units can be joined together.

NPIF investment helps health tech start-up boost workplace wellbeing

Moodbeam, a maker of wearable mental wellbeing devices, has launched a new model to help businesses and their staff through the COVID-19 pandemic.

It follows two rounds of investment totaling £450,000 from NPIF-Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia Fund Managers and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. 

The wearable device, called Moodbeam One, was originally designed to allow users to log their mood and monitor their emotional wellbeing of students, patients or employees. The device then links to an app, giving real-time insights into how someone’s moods change over time and patterns and trends to help them make positive changes.  

In addition to product development, the NPIF investment has allowed the company to double its headcount in 18 months, from two co-founders to four full-time members of staff and multiple contractors. 

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