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Digital Health Highlights

Treasury asked for £3-5 bn NHS tech fund
NHS IT leaders not getting on boards
Digital doctor to review NHS tech

Welcome [*data('2.first_name')|html*] Issue No 708, 6 November 2015 twitter contact



The spending review that will report on 25 November is looming ever larger on the NHS horizon. Think-tanks are urging the government to ‘front load’ the £8 billion of additional funding that it has promised by 2020-21, so the NHS can address its acute financial crisis and start on the reforms set out in the ‘Five Year Forward View.’

This week, it emerged that NHS England really does see technology as key to all this. It is not only hoping for another technology fund, but has put in a substantial bid - £3.3 billion to £5.6 billion - for infrastructure, electronic health records, digital and data services.

That’s an audacious sum – a quarter of what the National Programme for IT was projected to spend at its outset, and many times more than the two technology funds run so far to support health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s ‘paperless’ ambitions.

To get the money, NHS England will have to be able to show that investment on this scale will generate a substantial return. If, as Tim Kelsey and Beverley Bryant both told EHI Live 2015 this week, the commissioning board has a good case to make, it would be useful for it to release its working.

Similarly, it would be good to know how any money that is secured will be released to trusts; how will digital maturity relate to investment, and just what kind of use will be considered meaningful?

There were many criticisms of the way the first two rounds of technology funding were handled; and the promised benefits reports have never materialised. If the Treasury agrees to a tech fund 3, then both the distribution criteria and outcomes must be transparent and open. The stakes are too high for anything else.



Treasury asked for £3-5 bn NHS tech fund

The Treasury is being asked for up to £5.6 billion to support the NHS’ technology ambitions, as part of the spending review process that will conclude later this month.

Kelsey: lives 'ruined' by lack of data

People's lives are being “ruined” by the NHS' inability to join up patient information, according to NHS England's Tim Kelsey.

Digital doctor to review NHS tech

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that a best-selling US digital health author is to lead a review of the digital future of the NHS.

NHS IT leaders not getting on boards

A new national survey of NHS IT leaders has found that only a third of chief information officers and IT directors have clear board level responsibility for IT.

NHS IT leaders say 'paperless' possible

Two-thirds of NHS IT leaders say they are confident their organisation can meet the goal to become paper-light by the turn of the decade.

Demand for GP e-consultations 'low'

Seven day working and e-consultations may be popular with politicians but they have not gone down well with patients, an evaluation of the first wave of Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund projects has shown.

App endorsement: 50pc chance of success

The new NHS endorsement model for healthcare apps has a 50% chance of success, according to the project’s leaders.

NHS staff asked to rate EPR usability

NHS clinicians have been asked to rate the usability of their main IT system in a survey launched by Digital Health Intelligence and the CCIO Leaders Network.



The diary didn’t get to go to EHI Live 2015. So it remains baffled by a tweet that went out from Tim Kelsey’s opening keynote speech. This said “Tim Kelsey is the Kate Moss of Digital Health” according to George Freeman, the Conservatives’ new-ish life sciences minister.

With no context, it’s hard to work out what this might mean. Kelsey is the first NHS IT leader anyone thinks of, just as Moss is the go-to model of her generation? He’s got a bit of a reputation for stumbling out of clubs in the early hours? He’s famous, but nobody could quite say what he’s achieved? He looks as fabulous as Moss does in a pair of pants? Ok: possibly not the last one. Anyone who was there, do shed light…




The long Read

Read Codes are to be phased out across the NHS, and SNOMED CT must be used in primary care systems by the end of 2016 and in all IT systems by spring 2020. Thomas Meek reports.

Interview: Tim Kelsey

NHS England’s director of patients and information Tim Kelsey speaks to Digital Health’s news editor Rebecca McBeth about the steps being taken to make sure technology can deliver its contribution to the ‘Five Year Forward View’ savings.


Featured comment


“Dear Treasury. Please cough up £3.3 billion minimum for us to invest in IT to save anywhere from £8 billion to £13 billion a year very soon. Sorry about mislaying £12 billion (more like £18 billion – ed) somewhere along the line of NPfIT (but that’s dead now). You know that did yield some returns (circa 2% est. by the Public Accounts Committee – ed). We promise to spend more carefully this time. Yours, Tiny Tim, Jezza and all the lovely people at Richmond House.”

By: OzSceptic
Story: Treasury asked for £3-5 bn NHS tech fund


Quote of the week


“I first saw a recommendation that chief information officers (or their equivalent) be made board members back in Information for Health in or around 1997. Almost 30 years later, it is frustrating to read that still only a third of trusts are in that position.”

Dave Kelsall comments on a finding in the first Digital Health Intelligence NHS IT Leadership Survey that only a third of chief information officers and IT directors have board level responsibility for IT at their trusts; and that many do not even have budgetary responsibility.


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