The government and the NHS will join forces to invest £1 billion in technology over the next 3 years to improve patient care and ease pressure on A&E departments.
The Department of Health is today announcing an additional £240m investment in the Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards fund, this follows an initial investment of £260m announced when the fund was launched in May. Local health and care systems will be matching this £500m pot making a total of £1b available for technology.
The new funding will help deliver the government’s commitment to allow everyone to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online by March 2015, as well as allowing people online access to their GP record.
Doctors, nurses and social care professionals who are providing emergency care, including out-of hours, will be able to access patients’ complete medical details routinely across the country for the first time, saving time, helping reduce errors, and allowing them to give personal and effective treatment.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“It is deeply frustrating to hear stories of elderly dementia patients turning up at A&E with no one able to access their medical history, and for their sakes as well as all NHS users we need to put this right.
“That’s why I’ve set the NHS the challenge of going paperless by 2018. But rather than imposing a clunky one size fits all approach from Whitehall, this fund will empower local clinicians and health services to come together and find innovative solutions for their patients.
“Technology is key to helping our A&E staff meet the massive demand they face as the population increases and ages.”
Tim Kelsey, National Director for Patients and Information for NHS England was ”delighted” with the additional £240m for the ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards’ fund to help patients get better and safer care. He said:
“A single patient record will help make the patient journey from hospital to home seamless, giving professionals from different health and care organisations access to information when they need it most, without patients having to repeat themselves every time they speak to a different doctor, nurse or care professional.
“This extra funding will help us better meet the overwhelming demand from the ‘Safer Hospitals, Safer Wards’ fund announced in May this year. It’s great news for the NHS and great news for patients.”
This money will help meet the phenomenal demand there has already been from the health and care system for funding for technology.
Hospitals know how important technology is for giving patients high quality services and making life easier for hard working health and care professionals.
The funding should lead to an increase in, for example, ‘electronic prescribing’ – which means computer generated prescriptions sent by doctors directly to pharmacies, linked to barcodes unique to each patient. This kind of technology plays a huge part in cutting errors and improving safety.
NHS England is currently running second stage evaluation of the fund and expect to announce successful bidders at the end of October.
Details on how to apply to the fund will be published in due course.