A £44m NHS computer system is to be rolled out across Scotland in a bid to improve security and free up staff time.

The new system will manage bookings and waiting lists, report test results and allow staff to keep track of patient records more easily, the Scottish government said.

The system will free up money to be spent on frontline services and is better for the environment

Six health boards covering 70 per cent of the population have signed up to the new technology and the remaining boards will join “in the coming months”.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon launched the system during a visit to Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, where it was being tested.

She said: “This new system will be much more efficient, faster and more secure than outdated paper-based systems. It also frees up money to be spent on frontline services and is better for the environment.

“Benefits for patients and staff include improved security, faster test results, staff being able to share information more quickly and having staff freed up to carry out other tasks.

“It will also reduce the number of times patients have to give repeat information, which I know can be incredibly frustrating.”

It was welcomed by Monklands renal medicine consultant Dr Jamie Traynor, who said: “This patient management system is, to me, the first major leap towards a hospital-wide electronic patient record with huge advantages in the delivery of patient care.

“As well as the many efficiency benefits, patients will benefit directly as the staff looking after them will be able to make treatment decisions based on real-time access to up-to-date information such as blood results and medicines.

“It is also worth stressing that there will be a level of security built into this system that will exceed what we are able to achieve with paper records.”

NHS Lothian has already implemented the system. Ayrshire and Arran, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Grampian, Borders and Lanarkshire are also signed up to the programme.