Hancock to announce £487m boost to digitise hospitals

Speaking at West Suffolk Hospital today, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock will announce a £487m boost to digitise hospitals as he names tech one of his key early priorities.

[London, UK] Matt Hancock is to announce a £412m package to transform the use of technology in NHS hospitals and a further £75m to introduce electronic systems that would reduce medication errors in his first speech as Health and Social Care Secretary.

Mr Hancock will name workforce, technology and prevention as his top early priorities, pointing to existing innovations such as the Scan4Safety project that uses barcode tech to eliminate avoidable harm.

“You know better than me the pace at which modern medicine moves and so it’s crucial that your training looks to incorporate new technology that can save you time and offer better care,” Mr Hancock is expected to say at West Suffolk Hospital today (20 July). 

Mr Hancock was appointed as Health and Social Care Secretary earlier this month following a reshuffle sparked by a string of resignations in protest at the cabinet’s agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU, which saw Jeremy Hunt take over the Foreign Office.

Jonathan Ashworth, Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, said:

“Investment in technology is welcome but years of Tory austerity has seen hospitals build up a £5 billion repair backlog, resulting in clinicians nationwide using hundreds of pieces of equipment that are years out of date, as recently revealed by Labour.

“And commitments to prevention will ring hollow without reversing the substantial cuts to public health budgets, which are set to reach £800 million by 2020/21.”

More details in regards to the funding announced today will be released in due course.

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