Jeremy Hunt, health minister, announced £4bn for a paperless NHS on Sunday, and received criticism that he is simply re-using old statements rather than addressing the NHS crisis.
The announcement comes after – more than three years ago in January 2013 – Hunt announced that the NHS should go paperless by 2018 and by 2015 “everyone who wishes will be able to get online access to their own health records held by their GP”.
On Sunday he reecognised that NHS staff find it “incredibly frustrating” to spend so much time filling out paperwork, and would invest £4 billion in going paperless, the same amount he said that the move to paperless would save when he spoke in 2013.
In response, shadow health minister Justin Madders told ITV: “Any investment in technology is welcome but it’s unclear how much, if any, of this money is actually new.
“Rather than re-hashing old announcements, Jeremy Hunt needs to be telling the public how he intends to sort out the crisis facing our NHS,” he added.
Full details of the funding are currently being agreed between the Department of Health and NHS England, but are expected to include:
· £1.8bn to create a paper-free NHS and remove outdated technology like fax machines.
· £1bn on cyber security and data consent.
· £750m to transform out-of-hospital care, medicines and digitise social care and emergency care.
· About £400m to build a new website – nhs.uk – develop apps and provide free wi-fi.
Hunt told the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “We know that proper investment in IT, it’s not without its pitfalls, but proper investment in IT can save time for doctors and nurses, and mean they can spend more time with patients. This is a much-needed investment to allow that to happen.”
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