NHS to receive £4 billion IT investment to create a paperless health service

The National Health Service is expected to receive a large IT investment to create a paperless NHS and to bring the service into the digital age.

UK Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is set to put aside £4 billion to create an efficient National Health Service in hopes of improving its digital services and removing outdated technology like fax machines.

The budget allocation is still under discussion but the key areas that the government will be looking to improve include an investment of £1.8 billion to create a paper-free NHS and £400 million in building a new and improved NHS.UK website. Another key area that is likely to see a big investment is its cyber-security division, with an estimated £1 billion put aside to ensure the protection and safety of key data and patient information.

"The NHS has the opportunity to become a world leader in introducing new technology - which means better patient outcomes and a revolution in healthcare at home." said Jeremy Hunt. "On the back of a strong economy, and because of our belief in the NHS and its values, we are investing more than £4 billion across the health system to ease pressure on the frontline and create stronger partnerships between doctor and patient."

The remaining budget will be set aside for out-of-hospital care, online prescriptions and the digitisation of social and emergency care. This will allow patients to speak with doctors via video link and a simple, online system to renew prescriptions. Other improvements include the ability to upload blood pressure readings and other medical data onto an electronic health record for doctors to review remotely. It is hoped that 25% of patients with long-term conditions including diabetes and cancer will be able to have their health monitored remotely by 2020.

The Government's £4 billion investment in IT services could also see a potential increase in IT job opportunities across the NHS.