- New health and social care secretary singles out early priorities as workforce, technology, and prevention
- To reveal Treasury approval for a further £412m in hospital IT funding
- Will say it is “heartbreaking” that NHS staff feel undervalued
New health and social care secretary Mat Hancock will single out technology as a priority in his first speech tomorrow announcing a long-awaited £412m technology fund for sustainability and transformation partnerships.
Mr Hancock will give his first speech at West Suffolk Hospital on Friday morning, where he is expected to single out workforce, technology and prevention as his main early priorities.
He will also reveal Treasury approval for a long-awaited new round of digital technology funding that will be allocated by STPs and focus on fixing hospital IT systems.
The £412m fund will run through to 2020-21 and STPs will be able to make regional bids for allocations from autumn this year. The first tranche is scheduled for release by the end of financial year and will flow to individual hospital trusts.
HSJ understands access to funds will be assessed against national and local digital priorities, such as connecting patient records across regions, using patient data intelligently, and live hospital bed tracking.
Mr Hancock will also re-announce a further £75m for hospitals to deploy electronic prescribing and point to innovations such as Scan4Safety, which are both programmes that were previously announced by his predecessor, Jeremy Hunt, before his promotion to foreign secretary.
The STP technology fund is also not new money but part out of the £1.3bn “paperless 2020” fund, through to 2020-21, agreed in 2016 and subsequently drip-fed in tranches to the system, subject to Treasury approval.
Mr Hancock is expected to say: “I want to work with everyone across the NHS and social care system to embrace the next generation of technology. But from today let this be clear: tech transformation is coming. The opportunities of new technology, done right across the whole of health and social care, are vast. Let’s work together to seize them.’
Speaking about prevention, he will say a more “holistic” approach is needed to treating patients.
This should include reducing the “over prescription of unsophisticated drugs in favour of approaches like social prescribing” and making “the investment in primary care and community pharmacies so people don’t need to go to hospital”, he will say.
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Hancock to reveal £400m STP technology fund