New Health Secretary announces £200m of funding to create further NHS technology exemplars

Matt Hancock increases investment in technology by announcing new global digital exemplars

Matt Hancock, the new Health Secretary, has voiced his intention to promote the use of innovative technology in order to improve NHS services

The new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, is continuing his digital overhaul of the NHS with the announcement of £200m of funding to create additional global digital exemplars (GDEs).

Speaking at the recent NHS Expo in Manchester, Hancock set out his plans to make the NHS an ecosystem for the best technology available.

He said: “Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us and set our sights on the NHS being the most-cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology to improve our health, make our lives easier, and make money go further; harnessing the amazing explosion of innovation that the connection of billions of minds through digital technology has brought to this world.”

Now is the moment to put the failures of the past behind us and set our sights on the NHS being the most-cutting-edge system in the world for the use of technology

The £200m will be used to create new acute, mental health, and ambulance trust GDEs as well as the first community-based GDEs.

There are currently 16 acute hospital global digital exemplars, which have 17 fast followers; seven mental health GDEs, and three ambulance GDEs.

The cash is part of a wider investment in technology announced by the new Health Secretary.

He has also recently announced that the NHS App will be piloted in five areas across England.

It enables patients to book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, view medical records, access 111, set data sharing preferences, record organ donation preferences, and set end-of-life care preferences all online.

We believe that innovation can have a place alongside the tried-and-tested traditional methods, and it’s good to see that the Government is starting to recognise this and help drive it forward

And Hancock has also announced the creation of a HealthTech Advisory Board chaired by Ben Goldacre.

The board, which will report directly to Hancock, is intended to highlight where change needs to happen, where best practice isn’t being followed, and be an ideas hub for how to transform the NHS to improve patient outcomes, patient experience, and to make the lives of NHS staff easier.

Goldacre, a doctor, academic and writer, has become famous for exposing misuse of science and statistics by journalists, politicians and drug companies. He is also director of the Evidence-Based Medicine DataLab at the University of Oxford.

Speaking to BBH after the announcement Stephen Bourke, co-founder of Echo, an award-winning healthcare app, commented: “Matt Hancock’s continued determination to improve technology within the NHS is encouraging.

“Having systems in place that can house the highly-innovative solutions being created now, and in the future, will go a long way in helping to reduce pressure on the NHS.

“Technology can play a role in improving efficiency and cost within our health system, and in doing so make a significant difference to patients and healthcare professionals alike.

“We believe that innovation can have a place alongside the tried-and-tested traditional methods, and it’s good to see that the Government is starting to recognise this and help drive it forward.”

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