£1 billion to help A&Es and NHS staff access medical records in hi-tech hospital revolution

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£1 billion to help A&Es and NHS staff access medical records in hi-tech hospital revolution

The government and NHS will join forces to invest £1 billion in technology to improve patient care and ease pressure on A&E departments.   The money will form part of the government’s long term solution to pressures on A&E by freeing up doctors, nurses and care professionals’ time to care for patients and cut down on paperwork and bureaucracy.

This new funding will help deliver the government’s commitment to allow everyone to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online by March 2015, as well as give everyone who wants it online access to their GP record.

One of the key things the money will be spent on will be systems which allow hospitals, GP surgeries and out of hours doctors to share access to patients’ electronic records, which means:  • Doctors, nurses and social care professionals providing emergency care will be able to access patients’ complete medical details routinely across the country for the first time, so will be able to give them personal and effective treatment with full knowledge of their medical and care history;

• Health and care professionals will have this information at their fingertips so can spend more time seeing patients and less time filling in paperwork; and

• Errors will be reduced, as it will stop drugs being prescribed incorrectly because patients’ paper notes have been lost.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“ The public are rightly sceptical about NHS IT after the disastrous waste that happened in the past. But we can’t let their failure hold patients back from seeing the benefits of the technology revolution that is transforming daily lives.

It is deeply frustrating to hear stories of elderly dementia patients turning up at A&E with no one able to access their medical history, and for their sakes as well as all NHS users we need to put this right. “ That’s why I’ve set the NHS the challenge of going paperless by 2018. But rather than imposing a clunky one size fits all approach from Whitehall, this fund will empower local clinicians and health services to come together and find innovative solutions for their patients.

Technology is key to helping our A&E staff meet the massive demand they face as the population increases and ages.”   Paperless systems help staff in Accident and Emergency departments by helping them manage patients and giving them instant access to a patient’s medical notes and care records. That means patients can avoid going through lots of unnecessary diagnostic tests – and even being admitted to hospital overnight – because A&E staff don’t know the background and history of the patient in front of them.

And it means patients are less likely to be given the wrong medication, or something they might be allergic to, because clinicians don’t have access to the right information. Patients are also less likely to get stuck in hospital because no-one can decipher handwritten discharge forms.

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