The Mandate: digital ambitions for the health service

Government issued its Mandate, in November 2012, to the NHS Commissioning Board setting out the ambitions for the health service for the next 2 years.

The Mandate sets out the objectives for the NHS and highlights the areas of health and care where the government expects to see improvements.

The digital ambitions for the health service as expressed within the Mandate, all come under chapter 2: Enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions, they are:

  • By 2013, the new 111 phoneline will be up and running for non-emergency care.
  • By March 2015, we expect the NHS Commissioning Board to have made particular progress in 4 key areas:
      1. involving people in their own care
      2. the use of technology
      3. better integration of services
      4. the diagnosis, treatment and care of those with dementia
  • In a digital age, it is crucial that the NHS not only operates at the limits of medical science, but also increasingly at the forefront of new technologies.

The NHS Commissioning Board’s objective is to achieve a significant increase in the use of technology to help people manage their health and care.In particular, the Government expects that, by March 2015:

    • everyone who wishes will be able to get online access to their own health records held by their GP. The Board should promote the implementation of electronic records in all health and care settings and should work with relevant organisations to set national information standards to support integration
    • clear plans will be in place to enable secure linking of these electronic health and care records wherever they are held, so there is as complete a record as possible of the care someone receives
    • clear plans will be in place for those records to be able to follow individuals, with their consent, to any part of the NHS or social care system
    • everyone will be able to have secure electronic communication with their GP practice, with the option of e-consultations becoming much more widely available
    • significant progress will be made towards 3 million people with long-term conditions being able to benefit from telehealth and telecare by 2017; supporting them to manage and monitor their condition at home, and reducing the need for avoidable visits to their GP practice and hospital
    • As a leader of the health system, the NHS Commissioning Board is uniquely placed to coordinate a major drive for better integration of care across different services, to enable local implementation at scale and with pace from April 2013.

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