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£260m fund for digital spruce up in NHS hospitals

21st May 2013

£260m has been designated for hospitals to do away with paper records and increase the use of digital notes, particularly in the area of electronic prescribing. Health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced the plans last week, speculating that digital notes would make the NHS safer, avoiding inappropriate prescribing and allowing greater collaboration between different hospital departments. He has said there were 11 deaths in NHS hospitals last year as a result of incorrect medication being given and it has been inferred that these may have been avoided if the correct technology were in place.

Mr Hunt commented: ‘In many places, right now, a paramedic picking up a frail elderly woman who has had a fall will not always know she has dementia, because he or she cannot access her notes — or a doctor is prescribing the wrong drugs because they don't know what drugs their patient is already on.'

‘If we are to improve patient safety then we must allow the NHS to have access to the best tools available and this fund will help them achieve that.’

Mr Hunt has said he aims to make the NHS paperless by 2018, and would like GPs’ patient records to be made available online by 2015.

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