‘Some NHS staff need to log into 15 different IT systems’

Government commits £40m to help ease burden of ageing and complex IT

Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The government is to invest £40m in simplifying an ageing and complex technology estate that it claims requires NHS staff to log into as many as 15 separate IT systems.

The funding boost will support initiatives in three main areas. The first of these is to work with the suppliers to try and standardise log-in systems and processes across the health service, as well as offering a range of log-in methods – including biometric options, in addition to traditional passwords.

The second area is working with trusts to help modernise their processes with the aim of ensuring staff have the necessary permissions required to perform their clinical duties.

Thirdly, the investment will be focused on integrating national and local systems.

According to the government, a recent project to deliver single sign-on technology for employees at Alder Hey children’s hospital Liverpool – who collectively log in a total of 5,000 times each day – has saved a daily total of 130 hours of staff time.

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NHSX chief executive Matthew Gould said: “If you work in the NHS, the tech should not be getting in the way of your ability to do your job. Tech should be something you rarely think about because it just works. [This] announcements mean we can start to tackle one of the biggest gripes staff have with their tech. It will allow staff across the NHS to spend more time with their patients and less time fighting their computers.”

Alongside the funding for updating log-in systems, the government has also set aside £4.5m for local authorities to invest in digital adult social care programmes, and work to improve data sharing between NHS and social services.

Examples of technologies that councils could deploy include sensors and assistive technology to be used in citizens’ homes, and digital care records that can be shared across local government, the NHS, and private care homes.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “I want to harness the best digital technology to improve care for patients and ease the burden on our staff. And to do that, we need to get the basics right. Too often, outdated technology slows down and frustrates staff, and prevents them from giving patients their full attention and the care they deserve.”


Sam Trendall

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