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£4.2bn of NHS budget to be ringfenced for IT

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that £4.2bn of the Government’s investment in the NHS until 2020 will be ringfenced for IT projects, which is set to include £900m worth of capital investment for primary and secondary care IT systems that will work together.

Mr Hunt announced on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that £1.8bn would be invested to support his vision of a paperless NHS by 2020, to end the reliance on paper records and faxed discharge summaries to GPs.

Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum event in London yesterday, director of digital technology Beverley Bryant told delegates that NHS England had been ‘working hard’ to deliver a detailed plan for the £4.2bn by March, but ‘the secretary of state decided on Sunday that we would announce the numbers’.

She said that the plans have not been finalised, but said it was planned that £750m would go to out-of-hospital projects, including promoting and piloting the shelved record sharing initiative.

The full breakdown of the £4.2 billion fund includes: 

  • £1.8 billion to create a paper free NHS, which includes £900m of capital investment to put in place primary and secondary IT systems that will work together seamlessly, with an extra £400m for running costs.
  • £1 billion for infrastructure, cyber security and data consent;
  • £750 million to transform out-of-hospital care, including digital primary care, medicines, social care digitalisation and digital urgent and emergency care;
  • £400 million for enabling the NHS to become digital, including a new website, apps, free Wi-fi and telehealth; and
  • £250 million for data for outcomes and research.

Ms Bryant said that any investment to improve GP IT system security would be delivered through CCGs.

When asked whether the investment would be used to explain the opt-out and consent standard for patient data sharing, Ms Bryant told Pulse: ‘A lot of the patient facing money sits in the transforming primary care bucket, not the infrastructure bucket. We’re busy planning at the moment, and I’ve come under pressure to tell you all [journalists] what it’s all for when we’re right in the middle of a planning run.’

The investment is partly to help the DH achieve its aim of getting 10% of patients using online services such as viewing their medical record, appointment booking and repeat prescriptions.

GPs have not yet got a contractual duty to increase patient use of online services, but have been contractually required to provide appointments and repeat prescriptions online since April 2014.

Providing access to the Summary Care Record online became a requirement last April and new requirements to provide online access to all coded information in the GP record will become contractual from April 2016.

Last year NHS England commissioned an animation featuring a depressed ’Egbot’ whose health care experience was transformed when he stepped into NHS England’s ‘Digital World’.

Readers' comments (4)

  • reported in 2013 - An abandoned NHS patient record system has so far cost the taxpayer nearly £10bn, with the final bill for what would have been the world's largest civilian computer system likely to be several hundreds of millions of pounds higher, according a highly critical report from parliament's public spending watchdog.

    I doubt this NHS IT project fair any better.

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  • Might as well pile it infant of the department of health and have a good bonfire then at least it will generate some heat.

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  • a) 1.8 bln to make paper free.
    I thought we were already paper free. The paperwork, however, has piled into a mountain.
    b)1 billion for cyber security.
    What's the use if govt is hell bent on sharing records with private companies and entrusting PCA held records to private companies who at the same time are dealing with patient claims - accidents/negligence etc. Flouting IG basics and investing in security at the same time. Great.

    c) 750 mln for digitalizing everything.
    I think somebody needs a DRE here as can't see how the system will function without people!

    d)400mln for a new website? apps? Wi-Fi?
    Still delusional and convinced this will retain NHS position as the 'best in the world' My foot - Anybody seen a Psychiatrist around please - we need some urgent MH advice for JH.
    e)250mls for research into outcomes?
    The next band of Eton-utopian parasites trying to embezzle funds from NHS under the garb of research- look at the havoc this has already caused.
    This stupid banter makes you nauseous. How long can these thick skinned nuts keep sucking the system like leeches?

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  • Investing in people is more important than investing in technology in today's NHS.

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