Jeremy Hunt promises £1.8bn for paperless NHS

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a £1.8bn project to make the NHS paperless.

The modernisation programme would see anyone eligible to use its services to do so from computers, tablet and smartphone apps.

In addition, another £1bn would be spent of bolstering cybersecurity and patient data consent. A further £750 million would be spent upgrading out-of-hospital care and medicines, and to digitise social and urgent and emergency care services.

Around £400m would also be spent on improving digital services for patient, including a refresh to the NHS website, and free Wi-Fi in all NHS buildings.

The government has set targets of getting 10% of patients to access GP services online and through apps by March 2017. As well as this, it wants 25% of patients with chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer to monitor their symptoms remotely by 2020.

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The hope is that the investment would save the NHS more than £22bn in efficiencies.

Also under development is a a new click and collect service for prescriptions and plans are afoot to give patients full access to their health records online. Patients would also be able to upload data from mobile health apps to allow doctors to reference them.

“The NHS has the opportunity to become a world leader in introducing new technology – which means better patient outcomes and a revolution in healthcare at home,” said Hunt in a statement.

“On the back of a strong economy, and because of our belief in the NHS and its values, we are investing more than £4 billion across the health system to ease pressure on the frontline and create stronger partnerships between doctor and patient.”

Andy Williams, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) told PA: “Over the next few years HSCIC will be focusing on delivering technological solutions that enable better care and that free up time and resources to allow frontline workers to focus on their patients.”

“We are committed to enabling patients to be involved with their care and to have secure access to their medical records, allowing them to take control of their own health and to work in partnership with care providers.”

Colin Marrs

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