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BCS Health advises Trusts not to rely on stimulus funds to progress sustainable informatics strategy in light of budget cuts

BCS Health, part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is calling for Trusts that have put much effort into applying to the technology fund to significantly forward their informatics strategy, not to lay it to waste but to create a sustainable and financed informatics strategy from their budgets. The call comes in response to reports that NHS England’s second technology fund has been cut by nearly £200 million, with only one-fifth of bidders to receive any money.

Justin Whatling, Chair of BCS Health, a community of health informatics experts, says: “The news that the technology funding has been cut is a disappointment, we need to ensure that the NHS is able to take advantage of the benefits that modern technology bring. Let’s not waste the hard work and effort that has gone into developing these investment cases but to embed them into Trust informatics strategies and budgets. Sustained investment in IT and informatics is critical to transforming care for patients and delivering efficiencies.”

The fund was £240 million when it was launched in May 2014, the final size of the ‘Integrated Digital Care: Technology Fund’ signed off by the Treasury has been announced as £43 million.

Justin adds: “The technology fund has been good to overcome the danger of inertia post National Programme for IT in England, getting Trusts to start to co-invest and spend money on bridging their IT gap, and getting IT on the board agenda. With this latest news however, it reminds us that stimulus funds may come and go but Trusts still need to ensure that they create and plan a sustainable and financed informatics strategy from their budgets.

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