Billions spent on NHS IT could leave most vulnerable stranded

A first glance NHS policy statements at local and national level could give the impression that services are being transformed out of all recognition with the use of new IT technology and “digital first” systems.

However research by NHS Executive magazine on the scale and growth of spending on IT across the various English regions suggests that the reality is much more modest – and recent data on services during the Covid pandemic shows that old-style telephone contact is favoured over more fancy new digital and video links for remote consultations with GPs and hospital services.

The NHS Executive survey shows a total IT spend of £3.8 billion in England in the 4 years from 2016 to 2019  – averaging less than £1 billion per year, and therefore less than 1% of NHS England’s budget: more than half of this was accounted for between just three regions – London (29%), the West Midlands (13.6%) and Yorkshire & Humber (11.2%).

Full story in The Lowdown, 24 November 2020