Hancock announces fund for NHS tech transformation

23 Jul 18

The new health and social care secretary has pledged a £487m investment in healthcare technology.

In his first speech, Matt Hancock highlighted technology as one of his three priorities alongside workforce and prevention.

The digital funding aims to support service transformation by replacing doctors’ pagers with a smartphone app and introducing a barcode tracking system to trace patients, manage medical supplies and monitor equipment effectiveness.

Hancock said: “Our health system is uniquely placed to become the most advanced health system in the world – one where technology addresses the user need – making care better for patients, but just as importantly making life easier for staff.

“Technology and data innovation offers an opportunity to move past this binary approach.”

A £412m fund will be available to local NHS organisations submitting bids, while a further £75m will to help trusts put in place state-of-the-art electronic prescribing systems.

Hancock also announced that the government would consult on workforce issues, focused on bullying, harassment and diversity matters.

Responding to the speech, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The priorities outlined by the new secretary of state are very encouraging and will strike a positive chord with our members who have long argued that workforce, technology and transformation to develop services in the community are central.”

Izzi Seccombe, chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said councils should have a say in how the technology funding would be used

“so that data is effectively shared in the interests of people using services and processes are streamlined across health and care systems”.

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