The NHS Commissioning Board will be developing existing UK Online Centres in partnership with the Online Centres Foundation in order to get 100,000 more people to use the internet so that they can take advantage of services like NHS Choices and ordering repeat prescriptions online.
This comes as a response to the fear that people who need NHS services the most are least likely to be online – for instance homeless people, travellers, those in rural areas and those over the age of 65. In fact, those over 65 account for over half of NHS spending but 35% of them have never been online.
According to Professor Steve Field, deputy national medical director at the NHS Commissioning Board: “People who do not have access to the online world are often the invisible ones… It is up to us to make sure they are seen, heard and have access to quality care, regardless of circumstance or need. Modern day healthcare is far less about the doctor knowing best. It’s more about the individual taking informed decisions and the doctor helping them get the care they need.
Tim Kelsey, the NHS national director for patients and information has said that “the internet can be a powerful leveler in ensuring everyone can access the services that they need, but we need to invest in supporting those who don’t have the skills – and this partnership with Online Centres Foundation will help us to do this.”
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