• Health secretary emphasises importance of IT

Jeremy Hunt has said that IT should be a prioritised area of investment that should be protected within the NHS, while addressing the Commons’ health select committee.

When questioned about the ‘Five Year Forward View’, an initiative which aims to address the gap of £30 billion in NHS funding, Hunt gave IT as an example of the kind of long-term investment which should not be subjected to funding cuts. His comments suggest that IT and computing equipment will be an area of priority investment over the coming years.

He said: “One of the things that we have protected is IT, because we had the Wachter Review and it showed that some hospitals – the majority of hospitals – have IT that does not meet international standards.

“That means doctors spend more time on paperwork, or that hospitals have multiple IT systems that do not share information with each other.”

The health secretary also confirmed that he believed that standards can be raised while costs are cut. He cited the Summary Care Records in A&E departments as an example of progress, saying that the electronic records system “has been good for patient safety” and showed how “long term changes that are good for quality and safety.”