The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership.

Speaking at the Commons health select committee yesterday morning, Matt Hancock said he wanted the covid mass testing capacity to be used for “everything” in the future, including diagnosis of flu.

It’s not clear how valuable a mass test for flu would be, given the accuracy of such tests is questionable and treatment for mild flu symptoms is often resting at home. However, he was clear he wanted a culture change in Britain in which “soldiering on” and going into work “making everyone ill” would stop.

He also said the new capacity created since March must become “core” to how the NHS treats people in the future.

He said after the covid vaccine has been distributed, the mass labs created for covid PCR tests should be used “not just for covid but for everything. I want to have a change in the British way of doing things [to one where] if in doubt, you get a test. This doesn’t just refer to covid but to any illness you may have.”

Speaking at an NHS Confederation conference later in the day, Simon Stevens said about Mr Hancock’s statement: “It’s an optimistic thought to think ourselves through the other side of covid and let’s hang on to that. It’s quite right when we get to that point we would have much better diagnostic capacity that we have never had before in this country. There are lots of technical questions on how that capacity is brought to bear and it may well be that flu is one of them, but I don’t prejudge that.”

The price of change

In an HSJ exclusive, the chief digital information officer for Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust and neighbouring King’s College Hospital FT has revealed that the total value of a new electronic health record system across three London trusts was £210m over 10 years.

It was previously announced that GSTTFT has chosen US-based firm Epic as its electronic patient record provider, following a tender covering 10 years. This is despite Epic not being included on the national NHS England/NHSX framework for EPRs.

There are firm plans to extend it to KCHFT and to the Royal Brompton and Harefield FT, which GSTTFT is due to merge and co-locate with. GSTTFT and RBHFT hope to go live with the new system in April 2023 before KCHFT follows that October.