The website of the Clinical Services Journal

Government unveils digital plans for healthcare

The Government has published its plan for digital health and social care, which sets out a vision for transforming health and care with digital technology.

The plan also outlines the acceleration of the use of digital technology across the NHS and social care to improve efficiency and free up frontline workers’ time, helping to tackle the COVID backlog. By increasing the availability of remote monitoring – where patients can use technology to keep an eye on their condition from home – the Government says that a further 500,000 people could be better supported by March 2023. Over 280,000 people already used remote monitoring at home and in care homes for long-term conditions in the last year. 

£2 billion has been earmarked from the spending review to help digitise the NHS and social care sector, and this plan will help achieve that aim by rolling out electronic patient records in the NHS to drive efficiency which, in turn, will release billions of pounds back to the NHS.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We are embarking on a radical programme of modernisation that will make sure the NHS is set up to meet the challenges of 2048 – not 1948, when it was first established.

“This plan builds on our data strategy to revolutionise digital health and care, which will enable patients to manage hospital appointments from the NHS App and take more control of their own care at home, picking up problems sooner and seeking help earlier. Ensuring more personalisation and better join up of the system will benefit patients, free up clinician time, and help us to bust the COVID backlogs.”

To further free up clinician time, patients will be able to complete their hospital pre-assessment checks from home across the country by September 2024.

In addition to the investment in technology, the plan recognises our frontline professionals are at the bedrock of health and social care services, so it will bolster the skills in the workforce by:

  • Developing a national digital workforce strategy to bridge the skills gap and ensure the NHS remains an attractive place to work.
  • Growing the specialist data and tech workforce through graduates, apprentices and experienced hires, creating an additional 10,500 positions.
  • Embedding digital skills development into university curriculums to support our future and incoming workforce.
  • Providing a digital learning offer for adult social care staff, such as offering accessible training and online resources.

The plan will also promote the use of digital health and social care records, which will underpin more seamless information sharing between care teams, including appropriate access to GP records for people working in care homes, such as registered managers. The adoption of digital social care records and other care technologies is backed by £25 million this year, announced at London Tech Week.

Dr. Timothy Ferris, National Director of Transformation at NHS England and NHS Improvement, said: “By harnessing the power of digital and data we can improve both how people access services and the way we provide care. The plan for digital health and care sets out an ambitious vision for a future where the NHS puts more power and information at patients’ fingertips, and staff have the tools they need to deliver better and more joined-up services for those who need them.”

Dr Pritesh Mistry, Digital Fellow at The King’s Fund, commented: "This is a welcome plan that brings together years of disparate commitments and helpfully consolidates them into one strategy. Particularly welcome is the clarification that, while care needs to be digitally enabled, patients will not be forced to engage with the NHS solely through digital channels. 

"Greater use of digital technology promises exciting improvements to health and care, but if this plan is to be realised, minsters need to keep a focus on the mundane yet important work of maintaining systems and updating basic tech infrastructure. There also needs to be recognition that different parts of the country are not all starting from the same place. To avoid exacerbating health inequalities, the support made available to implement this plan should be targeted at those areas with the biggest improvements to make.

"The most significant risk to this new vision of digital health and care is the lack of capacity among the health and care workforce. NHS and social care staff are already under intense pressure and many will wonder where they will find the time needed to learn the new skills to use technologies, change organisational culture to work better with tech innovators, and avoid the pitfall of implementing new tech without adequately consulting the staff and patients who will use it."

 

Upcoming Events

AfPP Annual Conference 2022

University of York
8-11 September 2022

Infection 360: What's trending in infection prevention & control

Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham
27-28 September 2022

IP2022 IS COMING TO BOURNEMOUTH IN OCTOBER 2022

Bournemouth
17-19 October 2022

UKHCA Conference: Listen Up

Pendulum Hotel and Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
3rd November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Dusseldorf Germany
14th November - 17th November

Future Surgery 2022

ExCel, London
15th - 16th November 2022

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

Upcoming Events

AfPP Annual Conference 2022

University of York
8-11 September 2022

Infection 360: What's trending in infection prevention & control

Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham
27-28 September 2022

IP2022 IS COMING TO BOURNEMOUTH IN OCTOBER 2022

Bournemouth
17-19 October 2022

UKHCA Conference: Listen Up

Pendulum Hotel and Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester
3rd November 2022

MEDICA 2022

Dusseldorf Germany
14th November - 17th November

Future Surgery 2022

ExCel, London
15th - 16th November 2022

Access the latest issue of Clinical Services Journal on your mobile device together with an archive of back issues.

Download the FREE Clinical Services Journal app from your device's App store

Step Communications Ltd, Step House, North Farm Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3DR
Tel: 01892 779999 Fax: 01892 616177
www.step-communications.com
© 2022 Step Communications Ltd. Registered in England. Registration Number 3893025