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NHS: Digital Technology

Question for Department of Health

UIN 115038, tabled on 22 November 2017

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress has been made on the digital transformation of the NHS.

Answered on

1 December 2017

Good progress is being made towards a more digitised National Health Service. The Government is investing £4.2 billion to support wider adoption of digital technology over the five years up to 2020.

95% of general medical practices are able to offer patient online services, so patients can make GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions, increasing choice and convenience for patients.

A new ‘Apps Library’ launched in April this year for the NHS includes 43 apps which can be used by patients to support management of their health and wellbeing. Some apps are labelled, "NHS Approved" meaning there is clinical evidence that they support clinical outcomes, or "Being Tested in the NHS", which means they are part of an NHS programme that is monitoring and gathering evidence of its effectiveness.

Free Wi-Fi services have been rolled out to 1,200 general practices, enabling up to 8 million patients to get online and plans are in place to roll this out to the rest of the country.

98% of the population in England have a summary care record (SCR). SCRs are helping to deliver better, safer care for patients when seen by healthcare professionals in unplanned settings e.g. out of hours, or by ambulance and accident and emergency services, providing healthcare staff with essential information about an individual’s allergies, medications and any adverse reactions to medicines. SCRs were used over 4 million times during 2016, and for 2017 the expected figure is 6.5 million.

The global digital exemplar (GDE) programme is investing in acute and mental health trusts to develop world class digitally enabled services and to share and spread their experience to other NHS trusts so they can digitise more quickly and effectively. There are currently 16 acute global digital exemplar trusts and seven mental health global digital exemplars receiving up to £10 million and £5 million respectively matched by investment by the trust.

All GDEs are now partnered with fast followers – so GDEs can share their experience of implementation and fast followers can learn from this and support the spread of best practice and innovation. Mental health GDEs will also partner with fast followers over the next year.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care