£260m funding for hospitals to go digital

  • The Health Secretary has announced that the government will be giving funding to hospitals in order to buy more technology.

    This is to be used by hospitals to replace the current paper based systems that are used, and replace them with digital equivalents.

     Jeremy Hunt has today announced a £260 million fund to aim toward the NHS going digital by 2018.

    It is open to hospitals to help replace outdated systems, in particular for patients notes and prescriptions.

    This will hopefully help to increase accuracy in patient's details, and all the information about a patients care will be available.

    This is also hoping to improve the consistency of care across different departments and services through out the NHS.

    NHS hospitals can bid for the money to fund projects but in order to be eligible, they must demonstrate that these will lead to better, safer care.

    The fund will be used primarily for ‘electronic prescribing' for doctors to send computer generated prescriptions directly to pharmacies, linked to barcodes unique to each patient to remove area for error.

    The fund will also be used for creating electronic systems, linked to patient records, which talk to each other right across hospitals. St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust already has all of its patient records accessible online for doctors and nurses. New Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham has an online ‘portal' that allows patients to view and update their own medical records so doctors can get instant, real-time updates.

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

    In many places, right now, a paramedic picking up a frail elderly woman who has had a fall will not always know she has dementia, because he or she cannot access her notes. Or a doctor is prescribing the wrong drugs, because they don't know what drugs their patient is already on.

    If we are to improve patient safety then we must allow the NHS to have access to the best tools available and this fund will help them achieve that.

    See full details at Department of Health.


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