Plans for service in England aim to save clinicians time and cut delays, says government
All NHS patients in England will be able to book GP appointments online, order repeat prescriptions and access their full medical history on a new cloud system as part of a shake-up of IT systems.
The changes, which aim to replace outdated IT technology and improve digital coordination between parts of the healthcare system, should allow GPs, ambulance services and other primary care providers to access patient records digitally in real time.
The announcement is the first major alteration to the NHS patient record system since a failed £12.7bn digitalisation project to link up the healthcare system, which was scrapped by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government in 2011.
The project was launched under Labour in 2002 but was beset by changing specifications, technical challenges and disputes with suppliers, leaving it years behind schedule and over budget.
Under the latest plans announced on Friday by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, technology companies will be encouraged to bid for contracts to deliver the changes, which will be regulated by new standards and minimum requirements developed by NHS Digital.
The government hopes the changes will save clinicians time and reduce delays, while also allowing GP surgeries to pick from a wider range of IT systems providers.
Hancock said: “Too often, the IT used by GPs in the NHS, like other NHS technology, is out of date: it frustrates staff and patients alike, and doesn’t work well with other NHS systems. This must change.
“I love the NHS and want to build it to be the most advanced health and care system in the world, so we have to develop a culture of enterprise in the health service to allow the best technology to flourish.
“I want to empower the country’s best minds to develop new solutions to make things better for patients, make things better for staff and make our NHS the very best it can be.”
Sarah Wilkinson, the chief executive of NHS Digital, said: “The next generation of IT services for primary care must give more patients easy access to all key aspects of their medical record and provide the highest-quality technology for use by GPs.
“They must also comply with our technology standards to ensure that we can integrate patient records across primary care, secondary care and social care.
“In addition, we intend to strengthen quality controls and service standards, and dramatically improve the ease with which GPs can migrate from one supplier to another. We are committed to working with existing and new suppliers to deliver these extended capabilities for the benefit of GPs and patients.”
Date: January 9, 2019
Source: The Guardian