NHS is told to copy banks and airlines
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The NHS must copy banks and budget airlines by using the internet to give a better service while cutting costs, Jeremy Hunt said yesterday.
The Health Secretary said that the way patients accessed their GPs had remained unchanged while other areas of life had been revolutionised by technology.
Urging the health service to catch up, he promised that almost all patients would be able to see their records and book appointments online in little more than a year’s time.
He said it was a myth that patients would have to accept a worse service as the NHS struggled with a flat budget.
“Technology will do exactly the opposite, it will help us make care more personal, more tailored, more in tune with our demands as an increasingly affluent and demanding population,” he told the Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester.
Mr Hunt also defended care.data, the beleaguered NHS scheme to link GP records with data from hospitals to help researchers and to spot poor performance. He said that giving patients the right to opt out of having their GP records shared, which people cannot do with their hospital records, would ultimately boost patients’ confidence in the system. “I believe that the result of this, even though it’s a painful process, will be greater security and public confidence,” he said.
The scheme has been delayed for six months after doctors protested that it was poorly understood and MPs criticised the handling of the project in a debate in Westminster Hall yesterday.