Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock made a landmark speech on Thursday, clearly marking NHS IT as his main priority in the job. He made his frustrations with NHS IT clear in a keynote speech at the NHS Expo Conference in Manchester. Speaking to a packed hall at the Central Manchester conference, Mr Hancock, who has made technology one of his ‘early priorities’ said:
“Having thousands of databases that don’t talk to each other costs lives. A world in which a hospital can’t pull up a patient’s GP record is downright dangerous.”
techUK’s Ben Moody who chaired an event on the value of health data at the conference, welcomed Mr Hancock’s comments:
“It’s great to see such a change in gear. Mr Hancock clearly shares our vision that technology can drive a paradigm shift in how we deliver healthcare. It’s great to have a Health Secretary who understands the environment in which NHS suppliers are operating. We need to create a level playing field where suppliers are competing on innovation and price to deliver the best value for the NHS.”
However, he also cautioned against repeating some of the mistakes of the past:
“What suppliers value above all else is certainty. We need clear and consistent messages from the system about what the NHS wants to build and what it wants to buy. This is vital for the sector as it looks to invest the money and talent in this sector into creating world class technology that will ultimately save lives.”
Mr Hancock also announced the creation of an advisory panel to be chaired by Ben Goldacre and reconfirmed a £200m fund to help hospitals become Global Digital Exemplars.