We still have the extraordinary situation that the NHS in North Cumbria still makes major use of paper records - and we have people pushing trolley loads of them round hospitals like WCH, and spend lots of money and time driving them around the county and checking them in and out.
I have repeatedly asked about the plans to improve this and move our local health service into the 21st century at meetings of Cumbria Health Scrutiny and will continue to do so during my remaining few months on the committee.
Given the urgent need to improve this, I was delighted to see that this week the government has announced a new Data Strategy to support our NHS as it meets the challenges of the future, tackles the Covid backlog and delivers better care for patients across the country.
- Having seen the benefits of the NHS App during the pandemic, the government have committed to support the NHS in more modern ways to meet the challenges of the future holds.
- So they have announced an new NHS Data Strategy will use data to drive greater efficiency, supporting the NHS both to clear the Covid backlog and in normal operation. Patients will have better access to their GP records through the NHS App and the government is investing £25 million to help ensure that 80 per cent of social care providers have digital records by March 2024.
- The power of data will bring benefits to all parts of health and social care - millions of patients will benefit from faster, more innovative treatment and diagnosis as we Build Back Better.