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X-ray database to give GPs access to patients’ records

23 October 2008

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A digital database containing patients’ X-rays will allow better communication between hospitals and GP surgeries, thanks to a £300m scheme to upgrade IT services in the NHS in Northern Ireland.

Doctors will be able to access X-ray and scan results at the press of a button once the Northern Ireland Picture Archiving and Communications System is up and running, the Stormont government said.

Medical records and prescription details will also be able to be transferred between hospitals and doctors’ surgeries in an instant as a result of the upgrade of the NHS’s information technology systems.

Some £55m will be invested in information and communications technology improvements in the next three years, with a total of £300m spent by 2018, health minister Michael McGimpsey said.

“A 21st century health and social care service needs the most modern and innovative technology available,” he said.

“By investing in technology we can vastly improve the experience of the patient using our services. Patient information is less likely to be lost and can be available to a wide range of staff at the touch of a button.”

Mr McGimpsey was speaking at the opening of a £26m state-of-the-art Medical Imaging Centre at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, which will enable doctors to view the internal structures of the body without the need for invasive surgery or sampling.

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