The NHS is a federation rather than a unified body to a far greater extent than is sometimes realised and some trusts have embraced new technology to a greater extent than others.
We are badly behind on some aspects of digital healthcare in Cumbria and I have been making a fuss about this since I was appointed to Cumbria Health Scrutiny committee.
It would be churlish and unfair to deny that there has been progress but we STILL have the position where trolley-loads of hard copy patient records are being wheeled round hospitals like West Cumberland hospital, a fortune is spent driving these hard copy records around Cumbria to and from storage and highly-paid medical professionals are spending some of their priceless and scarce time logging them in and out.
So I welcome the fact that the government is still working on their strategy for better use of patient data and making more use of digital solutions to offer better service to patients, as indicated when today the government announced the latest stage of the Plan for Digital Health and Social Care, using technology to free up hospital capacity and bust the Covid backlogs.
- The government committed to investing £2 billion in the Spending Review to digitise the NHS and social care sector, to drive efficiency and release billions of pounds back to the NHS.
- Measures taken as part of this plan include improving the NHS App and NHS.uk to provide faster, more personalised treatment. Bringing information into the App will help people to view and manage hospital appointments, have virtual consultations, and see notifications from their GP – supporting an extra 500,000 patients to manage their condition from home.
- This investment in a health and social system fit for the 21st century will help people across the country to benefit from faster, more personalised healthcare.