AI technology is being utilised by the NHS in Buckinghamshire to pre-emptively detect residents' health issues.

The initiative uses electronic sensors to monitor individuals eating and drinking habits, aiming to prevent hospital admissions.

The trial forms part of the NHS's strategy to tackle the surge in patient headcount that typically happens during winter with "avoidable" hospital stays.

Connected to appliances such as kettles and fridges, the AI is programmed to spot behavioural patterns.

Concerns are flagged to care teams who reach out to patients to stop escalating situations and avert potential health crises.

Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, said: “This suite of tech and data solutions ahead of winter demonstrates how NHS staff across the country are innovating every step of the way, maximising the use of the latest technology and AI to help patients but also significantly reducing the number of avoidable A&E attendances.

“They are identifying the most at-risk or vulnerable patients and wider issues affecting their health, so teams can get to them early and help avoid an unnecessary visit to hospital – not only are these measures better for patients who can be cared for at home where they feel most comfortable but they are good for the NHS too, particularly when we know that this winter is likely to be incredibly challenging.”

Last week it emerged that 7.7 million people are on NHS waiting lists in England, the highest since records began in 2007 .

Ms Pritchard added: “NHS staff across the country are already feeling the pressure with record demand for A&E and ambulance services – and so these new innovations being rolled out by NHS teams are an extra and welcome addition to our winter toolkit, with more call handlers and more beds already in place.”

Over the next two years, the scheme is aiming to prevent 4,500 unnecessary trips to A&E, as well as 17,000 overnight hospital stays and 23,000 GP appointments.

Chris Holt, chief transformation officer at Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS FT, said: “Using data more smartly and harnessing the power of AI is now crucial in supporting the highest risk patients who, with the right support, can stay well at home.

“By identifying those complex patients – most likely to attend or be admitted to hospital over winter – it means we can step in much sooner and give them support that’s personalised for them.”