In December of 2021, NHS England released a new publication entitled "2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance".
Within the publication, it states that the last two years have been the most challenging in the history of the NHS and for staff across the service. The fundamental priority going forwards is to make significant progress in restoring services and reducing the COVID backlogs.
The 40 page documents sets out a number of NHS’ objectives for the next 12 months across a range of topics, one of which includes "digital". In fact, the term digital appears a staggering 33 times and is therefore clearly a main pillar of expediting the recovery.
The NHS will receive total capital resources of £23.8 billion over the next three years, including £4.2 billion of funding to support the building of 40 new hospitals and to upgrade more than 70 hospitals; £2.3 billion to transform diagnostic services and £2.1 billion for innovative use of digital technology.
The £2.1 billion earmarked for "digital technology" will be spent in the following ways :
Exploit the potential of digital technologies to transform the delivery of care and patient outcomes – achieving a core level of digitisation in every service across systems.
a suite of national GP recruitment and retention initiatives to enable systems to support their PCNs to expand the GP workforce and make full use of the digital locum pool
develop additional digitally connected imaging capacity and ensure that acute sites have a minimum of two CT scanners
The implementation of digital diagnostic investments is expected to deliver at least a 10% improvement in productivity by 2024/25, in line with the best early adopters.
fully exploit remote monitoring technology and wider digital platforms to deliver effective and efficient care
digital-first primary care by 2023/24 is delivered, which means a full primary care service that patients can access easily and consistently online, that enables them to quickly reach the right service for their needs (whether in person or remotely), that is integrated with the wider health system, and that enables clinicians to provide efficient and appropriate care.
Improve uptake of lifestyle services, the Diabetes Prevention Programme, Low Calorie Diets, the new Digital Weight Management Programme and digitally supported self-management services.
Costed three-year digital investment plans should be finalised by June 2022 in line with What Good Looks Like (WGLL). They will then fund systems to establish dedicated teams to support the development and delivery of their plans, which should:
include provisions for robust cyber security across the system.
reflect ambitions to consolidate purchasing and deployment of digital capabilities, such as electronic patient records and workforce management systems, at system level where possible
set out the steps being taken locally to support digital inclusion
consider how digital services can support the NHS Net Zero Agenda.
Capital will be available to systems for three years from 2022/23, to support digitisation of acute, mental health, ambulance and community services. £250 million will initially be allocated to systems for 2022/23 while they develop their digital investment plans. This funding will be directed towards those services and settings that are the least digitally mature.
The above are extracts taken from "2022/23 priorities and operational planning guidance" published on 24th December 2021. The full document can be read here .