The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) is calling for the joining up of IT systems across the NHS to be prioritised as part of its technology manifesto.
The All Systems GP document, published on 30 April, recognises the potential that genomics, AI, digital medicine and robotics has to improve patient care and safety, but adds this can only be achieved once all areas of the NHS have access to computer networks which link up the patient journey.
The manifesto states it wants all GP practices to have:
- modern, digitally-enabled premises with fully interoperable IT systems
- access to secure high-speed broadband facilities
- access to a single shared electronic patient record which documents patient interactions throughout the NHS
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said: “GPs have always embraced new technology. General practice was the first NHS sector to have electronic prescribing and electronic patient records so we know how beneficial new technology can be and we recognise its huge potential to help our patients.
“GPs want the latest, cutting-edge tech at our disposal but we need the basics to work first. That means everything from making sure that our computers don’t crash while issuing a prescription, to making sure our systems talk to those in all hospitals so that we can improve the care and experience that our patients receive throughout the NHS.
“We want the NHS to be a world leader in technology, and we are ready for a new wave of exciting opportunities which have the potential to revolutionise patient care, but a lot of work is needed before that can happen, and we need to ensure sure that these opportunities are embraced safely and sustainably with GPs at the centre of changes.”
The manifesto was launched at an event at the RCGP’s London headquarters.
On the same day health secretary Matt Hancock announced all hospitals and GP practices will soon have access to the fastest fibre optic broadband under new government plans.
Hancock said the upgrade would support a promise made in the NHS Long Term Plan to improve the range and access of digital healthcare services.