£1bn IT fund to boost online GP access

The DH has ordered local health economies to match a £500m national investment in IT services, in a bid to meets its target to boost online access to GP practices by 2015.

IT investment: £1bn cash injection
IT investment: £1bn cash injection

The £500m put forward by the DH, and an equivalent investment from CCGs, will create a £1bn investment nationally worth around £5m per CCG.

This funding will help deliver the government’s commitment to allow all patients to book GP appointments and order repeat prescriptions online by March 2015, and allow anyone who wants it online access to their GP record.

It will also fund a new system to allow GP practices, out-of-hours doctors and hospitals to share access to patients’ records.

The government said it hopes the investment will go towards easing pressure on A&E by ‘freeing up doctors, nurses and care professionals' time to care for patients and cut down on paperwork and bureaucracy’.

Ministers also hope that it will cut down on drugs being prescribed incorrectly because patients’ paper notes have been lost.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ‘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.’

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