New plans to expand the use of digital technology across the NHS

7 Sep 2016 12:22 AM

Multi-million pound package to achieve NHS digital excellence in response to Wachter review alongside new digital services for patients.

New plans to fast track digital excellence and improve the digital skills of the NHS workforce have been announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of plans to expand the use of digital technology across the NHS.

Responding to a review of NHS technology conducted by renowned US clinician Bob Wachter, Jeremy Hunt will establish 12 new global exemplars to pioneer best practice and a new academy dedicated to training NHS staff in digital skills.

As global exemplars, the 12 successful NHS organisations will receive up to £10 million and be expected to deliver pioneering approaches to digital services and help others in the NHS to learn from their experience. These trusts will be partnered with an international organisation of their choice, to take full advantage of their expertise.

Alongside investment in technology and infrastructure, the funding will be used to improve training for staff and will also encourage a new generation of chief clinical information officers to drive forward advances in digital technology.

Meanwhile, universities will be invited to host the new NHS digital academy, which will help train NHS professionals in the key skills they will need to deliver next generation, digital healthcare.

Jeremy Hunt said:

Bob Wachter’s excellent review made it clear that digitisation is as much about people as it is technology, and that this is a real opportunity to improve patient care for the long term. We want to fast track existing digital excellence, as well as nurture new skills and expertise that we will need to deliver a new breed of digitised services.

This means on the one hand giving pioneering NHS organisations the financial backing to unleash their full potential, while also making sure that we can build a digitally-confident workforce across the whole NHS.

The global exemplar trusts will be:

Further funding will be available for another 20 trusts to become national exemplars, receiving an intensive programme of support from the new NHS digital academy, and up to £5 million each, to improve how digital technology is used across their organisation.

Digital services for patients

New digital services for patients will enable them to register with a GP, access healthcare records and get medical advice via their tablet or smartphone all in one place. The services, which will be available from the end of next year, are intended to make the NHS easier to use for the increasing numbers of people using smartphones and other mobile devices to access public services.

Speaking at the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester, the Health Secretary will outline the measures for patients, including:

NHS Digital Chief Executive Andy Williams said yesterday:

Our purpose at NHS Digital is to harness information and technology to deliver better health and care. That’s why I welcome the Secretary of State’s announcements today and look forward to leading the delivery of better digital services for the NHS and in social care. I am excited by the agenda outlined today and believe we have only just begun to achieve the true transformational change and deliver the real benefits that digital technologies can bring to doctors, nurses, social workers, patients and the public.