Jeremy Hunt MP is Secretary of State for Health and MP for South-West Surrey. Follow Jeremy on Twitter.
Every day, all over the country, patients are failed by the disgracefully inadequate condition of IT across the health and care sector. They deserve better – as do the staff who are working tirelessly to care for them. Last year we set the NHS a challenge of going paperless by 2018. Today I have announced £1 billion of new investment in IT.
The appalling condition of much of the current IT infrastructure is not just a huge burden on NHS finances. It threatens patient safety, frustrates staff and is an unnecessary pressure on A&E departments. It is shocking to hear stories of elderly dementia patients turning up at A&E with no-one able to access their medical history. Meanwhile terrible mistakes can occur when patients are given drugs they don’t need or may be allergic to because their paper notes have been lost. Nurses and patients fill in umpteen forms with the same information because the same hospital may have a dozen or so electronic systems. District nurses have to spend time filling in notes and travelling to and from the office when they could be seeing patients.