Matt Hancock plans to make the NHS a technology leader

At an event last week, Matt Hancock outlined his plans for an NHS that fully utilises advanced technology

Health secretary, Matt Hancock, has set out plans to make the NHS the most advanced healthcare system in the world with the aid of technology.

Hancock spoke last week at the NHS Expo in Manchester about the current and future uses of the £20bn that will be poured into transforming health and social care.

He announced that the new NHS app will be piloted in five areas in England (Liverpool, Hastings, Bristol, Staffordshire and South Worcestershire) from next month, ahead of a national roll-out in December. Patients in these areas will be able to download a test version of the app, allowing access to:

  • booking GP appointments;
  • ordering repeat prescriptions;
  • their medical records;
  • 111 online access for urgent medical queries;
  • data sharing preferences;
  • organ donation preferences;
  • end-of-life care preferences.

More than £200 million will also be invested to turn a group of NHS trusts into internationally-recognised centres for technological and digital innovation.

Hancock said:

“I love the NHS. It’s been there for me – as it’s been there for us all – at some of the most difficult moments in my life. The NHS has saved the lives of my close family, and has cared for family and friends in dire need.

“I want the best for the NHS, and will do all I can to make that happen. We are proposing to increase the NHS budget by £20bn a year, to guarantee the NHS for the long term. But money alone is not enough. We need to make the most of that money.

“Our hospitals operate dozens of systems each, that don’t talk to each other. GPs, social care, pharmacies and community care are on different systems. Systems crashing is a regular occurrence. The social care system is not at all integrated, when its integration is vital.

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“The NHS infrastructure is stronger and moving in the right direction. Local pockets of brilliance shine out. The generic technology available outside the NHS is a million times better. And we have learned a huge amount about how to deliver cutting-edge tech in very complicated settings with big legacy systems.

“Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us, and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology to improve our health, make our lives easier, and make money go further, harnessing the amazing explosion of innovation that the connection of billions of minds through digital technology has brought to this world.”

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