Half a billion pounds will be invested in technology to improve patient care within the NHS, the health and social care secretary has announced.
Speaking at West Suffolk Hospital this morning, Matt Hancock revealed a £487m funding package to transform the health and social care system and reduce workload.
He also set out three key priorities to support the long-term sustainability of the NHS: technology, workforce and prevention.
Of the £487m funding, £412m will be invested in hospitals while £75m will be made available to trusts in a bid to ‘save money and reduce potentially deadly medication errors by up to 50%, compared to the old paper systems’, according to NHS England.
Tackling medication errors
According to a study by the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and York, there are around 237 million medication errors every year in England, which can occur anywhere in the prescribing, dispensing, administering and monitoring process.
Hospitalisations linked to avoidable adverse drug reactions can cost the NHS up to £1.6bn, consuming 3.8 million bed days and contributing to more than 22,000 deaths, the researchers said.
Mr Hancock said he wants to work with everyone across the NHS and social care system to ‘embrace the next generation of technology’.
He added: ‘In my experience, the small part is finding or inventing the technology.
‘The big part is embedding a culture of always looking for the best possible technology and embracing it. I want to drive that culture change.
‘But from today let this be clear: technology transformation is coming.
‘The opportunities of new technology, done right across the whole of health and social care, are vast. Let’s work together to seize them.’
Pat Finlayson, senior product manager of telemedicine at mobile operator company Polycom – which has provided services to NHS trusts in the past – said that this funding is ‘vital at a time when both staff shortages and waiting lists are growing.’
She added: ‘We’ve seen time and time again that investment in the right technology can be transformative for healthcare providers and patients, saving lives, driving efficiencies and supporting medical professionals.
‘Technologies such as telemedicine enable healthcare providers to massively scale up the number of patients treated every day, while making it easier for people living remotely to access the care they need.’