Jeremy Hunt to outline ‘paperless NHS’ plans – BBC News

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Image caption Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will detail how a “paperless” NHS will make services more convenient

The government has launched its latest attempt to improve the use of technology in the NHS in England.

The aim is to create a paperless service that would be more convenient for patients, and help doctors to provide faster diagnoses.

More than 4bn has been set aside for areas such as electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations.

But Labour said the NHS was “going backwards” under the Conservatives.

The government wants at least 10% of patients to use computers, tablets or smartphones to access GP services by March 2017.

By 2020, it is hoped 25% of all patients with long-term conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer will be able to monitor their health remotely.

At the end of last year, Mr Hunt said free wi-fi would be provided in all NHS buildings in England but a deadline has still not been set.


Previous efforts by other governments to modernise NHS technology have been fraught with difficulty.

Labour tried to launch electronic medical records in 2002. Described as “the world’s biggest civil information technology programme”, the effort was scrapped after at least 10bn was spent.

Under the previous coalition government, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the NHS would go paperless by 2018.

BBC health correspondent Sophie Hutchinson said progress had been slow and this latest announcement was another attempt to push the NHS forward.

Mr Hunt said: “The NHS has the opportunity to become a world leader in introducing new technology – which means better patient outcomes and a revolution in healthcare at home.

“On the back of a strong economy, and because of our belief in the NHS and its values, we are investing more than 4bn across the health system to ease pressure on the front line and create stronger partnerships between doctor and patient.”

Labour’s shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “Rather than rehashing old announcements, Jeremy Hunt needs to be telling the public how he intends to sort out the crisis facing our NHS.

“The Tories cannot hide from the fact that the NHS is going backwards on their watch.

“Hospital departments have become dangerously full, patients are waiting hours in A&E, and the health service is facing the worst financial crisis in a generation.”

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