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Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced the five areas that will trial the new NHS app from next month, as well as pledging more than £200 million to support Global Digital Exemplars.
Speaking at the NHS Expo in Manchester, Hancock said that the new NHS app will be piloted in Liverpool, Hastings, Bristol, Staffordshire and South Worcestershire from next month, before national roll-out in December. Patients in the five regions will be able to use the app to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, access their medical record, amend data sharing and organ donation preferences, and gain 111 online access for urgent medical queries.
The £200 million funding will support new Global Digital Exemplars in acute, mental health, community and ambulance trusts in England to set a gold standard of digital innovation for other services to follow.
Hancock said: “We are proposing to increase the NHS budget by £20 billion a year, to guarantee the NHS for the long term. But money alone is not enough. We need to make the most of that money. Our hospitals operate dozens of systems each, that don’t talk to each other. GPs, social care, pharmacies and community care are on different systems. Systems crashing is a regular occurrence. The social care system is not at all integrated, when its integration is vital.
“The NHS infrastructure is stronger and moving in the right direction. Local pockets of brilliance shine out. The generic technology available outside the NHS is a million times better. And we have learned a huge amount about how to deliver cutting-edge tech in very complicated settings with big legacy systems. Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us, and set our sights on the NHS being the most cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology to improve our health, make our lives easier, and make money go further, harnessing the amazing explosion of innovation that the connection of billions of minds through digital technology has brought to this world.”
Gareth Fitzgerald and Amanda Grantham, healthcare experts at PA Consulting, discusses how UK hospitals can improve patient flow