The government has outlined plans to improve IT in GP surgeries across the UK
Matt Hancock, the UK’s health secretary, has announced that outdated IT in GP practices across the country will soon be replaced with modern technology.
Hancock says that the GP IT Future framework will create a much more attractive environment for the best technology companies to invest in the NHS, and all programmes will all be required to talk to one another across systems.
Currently, the market is dominated by two main providers, which slows innovation.
The IT Future framework aims to shift data to modern cloud services, improving access for healthcare workers and improving security.
By 2023 /2024, the government also wants every patient in England to be able to access GP services digitally, with practices able to offer online or video consultations.
The planned changes will free up staff time and reduce delays by allowing seamless, digitised flows of information between GP practices, hospitals and social care settings.
Matt Hancock said:
“Too often the IT used by GPs in the NHS – like other NHS technology – is out of date. It frustrates staff and patients alike, and doesn’t work well with other NHS systems. This must change.
“I love the NHS and want to build it to be the most advanced health and care system in the world – so we have to develop a culture of enterprise in the health service to allow the best technology to flourish.
“I want to empower the country’s best minds to develop new solutions to make things better for patients, make things better for staff, and make our NHS the very best it can be.”
Sarah Wilkinson, Chief Executive at NHS Digital, added:
“The next generation of IT services for primary care must give more patients easy access to all key aspects of their medical record and provide the highest quality technology for use by GPs.
“They must also comply with our technology standards to ensure that we can integrate patient records across primary care, secondary care and social care.
“In addition, we intend to strengthen quality controls and service standards, and dramatically improve the ease with which GPs can migrate from one supplier to another.
“We are committed to working with existing and new suppliers to deliver these extended capabilities for the benefit of GPs and patients. We’re very excited about the huge opportunities that will arise from improving the sophistication and quality of these services.”