NHS pledges £4bn to boost technology usage

More than £4bn has been set aside by the NHS to invest in technology as it boosts its drive towards a paperless service.

The areas earmarked for the spend are electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations, which the NHS says will boost convenience for patients and help doctors speed up diagnoses.

While full details of the funding are yet to be confirmed and discussions between the Department of Health and NHS England are ongoing. Measures expected to be introduced are:

  • £1bn on cyber security and data consent
  • £1.8bn to create a paper-free NHS and remove outdated technology like fax machines
  • £750m to transform out-of-hospital care, medicines and digitise social care and emergency care
  • About £400m to build a new website – nhs.uk – develop apps and provide free wi-fi

Commenting on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We know that proper investment in IT, which is not without its pitfalls, can save time for doctors and nurses and means they can spend more time with patients.”


App focus

NHS-accredited apps are predicted to play a leading role in the drive towards a paperless NHS. A diabetes monitoring app, for example, has been used with success for some time and it’s hoped that more technology like this can be adopted.

The NHS has previously stated that, by 2020, it is hoped that a quarter of patients with long-term conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer will be able to monitor their health remotely.

Another target made public is the aim of getting 10% or more of patients to use computers, tablets or smartphones to access GP services by March 2017.

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