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NHS is ‘tech averse healthcare system’, says ex-government adviser

A cut to the NHS tech budget, revealed by HSJ, has been described as “pretty outrageous” by a former government adviser and eminent medical leader.

Sir John Bell, an immunologist and geneticist and regius chair of medicine at Oxford University, made the comments in a talk at the Tony Blair Institute’s Future of Britain conference.

NHSE’s cut to its tech budget was attributed to having to divert the money to fund spending growth, and some other inflationary costs, without receiving extra from government. At the time, NHSE said the service “remains firmly committed to our digital strategy from supporting hospitals to adopt electronic patient record systems to transforming how patients access NHS services through the NHS App”.

But Sir John said: “The NHS is a technology averse healthcare system.”

He said NHS spending on medicines was “much lower than peers and if you look at our access to technology – like MRI and CR scanners – we’re right at the back. We just don’t do it.”

He added that rapid tech development and adoption was needed particularly to enable mass early diagnosis of diseases, and new treatment therapies.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 18 July 2023


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