Health and Social Care Secretary sets tech-focused priorities

The Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, has set out priorities for health and social care at the Health Service Journal’s Digital Transformation Summit.

The priorities focus on how personalised care, as well as ‘levelling up’ and harnessing the power of technology, can benefit patients and healthcare staff across the country.

The priorities include:

  • For 90 per cent of NHS trusts to have Electronic Patient Records (EPR) in place or to be processing them by 2023, so that NHS staff can access relevant patient information at the right time. Additionally, social care providers are to adopt a digital social care record to deliver safer and better care for patients.
  • For 75 per cent of adults to access the NHS App by March 2024, as well as to expand functions on estimated waiting times and personalised advice, to help people manage their health – by having access to their health records – and make it easier to books appointments, order repeat prescriptions, and register preferences for services such as organ donations.

On his new targets for the roll-out of the Electronic Patient Records across health and social care, Sajid Javid said: “We have undeniably seen brilliant progress. But this progress hasn’t always been consistent across the board – for example one in five trusts still do not have Electronic Patient Records.

“Electronic Patient Records are the essential prerequisite for a modern, digital NHS. Without them, we cannot achieve the full potential for reform.

“So, I want to accelerate the roll-out of these vital records, with a new approach so that we hit 90 per cent coverage by the end of next year.

“I want to see a particular focus on social care, where around 40 per cent of providers are still grappling entirely with paper-based records. So, I want to see all social care providers adopt a digital social care record.”

The Health and Social Care Secretary also announced his intention to publish a Digital Health Plan later this year, focusing on lessons learned from the pandemic, as well as driving change across the digital health space.