Courtesy of Department of Health
The UK government has pledged £248 million over the next year to digitise diagnostics care across the NHS.
New technology will be used to improve the way tests, images and results can be shared across computer systems in hospitals, labs and GP surgeries, meaning clinicians can access results more easily, even when working from different settings.
It will also allow imaging specialists to review high-res images remotely without needing to be in an imaging lab.
The funding will also provide a new tool to help GPs and other clinicians choose the most suitable scan for their patient based on the patient’s symptoms and medical history. This aims to cut inappropriate requests made to radiology departments, saving radiologists’ time and ensuring patients get the right scans at the right time.
WHY IT MATTERS
More than 1.5 billion diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out health conditions and disease are carried out in England every year. These are crucial to providing early diagnosis, screening and monitoring of long-term conditions and are often the first step to understanding the right care and treatment for a patient.
Recovering diagnostics services is vital to recovering the overall NHS backlog and reducing waiting times for cancer services and other treatments.
The new funding aims to drive up efficiency by saving staff time, and comes as part of the government’s ambition to tackle waiting lists and speed up routine treatment for patients
THE LARGER CONTEXT
The investment follows recommendations from Professor Sir Mike Richards’ independent review of NHS diagnostics capacity showing improving digitisation should be prioritised to drive efficiency and deliver seamless care.
At the last Spending Review, the government announced £2.3 billion over the next three years to transform diagnostic services with at least 100 community diagnostic centres across England. GPs will be able to refer patients to these new one-stop-shops for patients to access checks, scans and tests more quickly.
ON THE RECORD
Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today’s multi-million pound investment will play a big role in levelling up diagnostics services across the country so patients can get faster results and healthcare professionals can get their job done more easily, reducing unnecessary administrative burden and making every taxpayer’s pound count.”
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: “The NHS is facing a winter like no other with rising cases of COVID and flu as well as record demand for emergency services, all while we continue to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in health service history, including rolling out booster jabs for the most vulnerable.
“However, NHS staff are making efficient use of additional funding and following the recent rollout of new diagnostic centres, the number of patients waiting for a diagnostic test is falling for the first time in a year, meaning more people are getting the checks they need and if required, are able to begin treatment sooner.”
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NHS receives £248M boost to modernise diagnostics – Healthcare IT News
Courtesy of Department of Health