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Posted on October 17, 2018 by staff

‘Obstructive NHS tech will become thing of the past’

Matt Hancock has promised to make “outdated and obstructive” NHS IT systems “a thing of the past”.

The health and social care secretary made the pledge as he launched his new technology vision, which included several proposals on how the NHS will become the “most advanced health and care system in the world”.

It said that the NHS still needed to “get the basics right”.

“Technology systems used daily across hospitals, GP surgeries, care homes, pharmacies and community care facilities don’t talk to each other, fail frequently and do not follow modern cyber security practices,” the document stated.

It also outlined plans to introduce minimum technical standards that digital services and IT systems in the NHS will have to meet – or risk be phased out.

Hancock said in his vision that all services should run on the cloud where they would benefit from the “resilience and backups of some of the most cyber-aware and heavily invested companies in the world”.

“The tech revolution is coming to the NHS,” he said.

“These robust standards will ensure that every part of the NHS can use the best technology to improve patient safety, reduce delays and speed up appointments.

He added that he wanted to hear from staff, experts and suppliers.

Sarah Wilkinson, CEO of NHS Digital, admitted that the “implementation journey” will be complex but stressed that “this work matters too much for any of us to shy away from the challenge”.

“Everyone understands the value of this work but progress in recent years has been limited,” she said.

“Today, responding to a direct challenge from the Secretary of State to transform the fortunes of this work, we are injecting a new level of energy and commitment.”

Wilkinson promised that greater standardisation of data, infrastructure, platforms and APIs will create a health and care system that is “more joined-up, and as a result safer and more efficient”.