NHS seeking to ‘lock in’ better use of tech necessitated by coronavirus

Minister says health service is seeking to ensure it continues to benefit from initiatives such as remote working

Credit: Barrington Coombs/EMPICS Entertainment

The NHS will look at how best it can “lock in” some of the “beneficial changes” occasioned by the coronavirus crisis, including increased use of remote working and the ability to rapidly roll out new technology in patient care.

The coronavirus crisis “has affected every part of local health and care systems”, said Lord Bethell, a minister at the Department of Health and Social Care responsible for innovation.

He added that, in responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic, “NHS organisations, local councils and others are working across traditional organisational and team boundaries”.

The health service will seek to ensure that some of the new ways of working – including increased use of technology to deliver care remotely – will persist beyond the current crisis, Lord Bethell said.

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“The NHS is investigating ways to ‘lock in’ beneficial changes to patient care and experience which have been introduced during the Covid-19 outbreak,” he added. “These include backing local initiative and flexibility; enhanced local system working; strong clinical leadership; flexible and remote working where appropriate; and rapid scaling of new technology-enabled service delivery options such as digital consultations.”

Bethell added that a portion of this work will focus on improving care for patients throughout the surgical process.

“A full programme of NHS-led work, through Integrated Care Systems and sustainability and transformation partnerships, will aim to join up services and foster multidisciplinary team working, to make perioperative care more responsive and convenient for patients across the full pathway; before, during and after surgery,” he said,

Bethell was answering a written parliamentary question from crossbench peer Baroness Finlay.


Sam Trendall

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