The King's Fund responds to the Digital Health and Care Plan

This content relates to the following topics:

Responding to the Digital Health and Care Plan published today, Dr Pritesh Mistry, Digital Fellow at The King’s Fund said:

‘This is a welcome plan that brings together years of disparate commitments and helpfully consolidates them into one strategy. Particularly welcome is the clarification that, while care needs to be digitally enabled, patients will not be forced to engage with the NHS solely through digital channels.

‘Greater use of digital technology promises exciting improvements to health and care, but if this plan is to be realised, minsters need to keep a focus on the mundane yet important work of maintaining systems and updating basic tech infrastructure. There also needs to be recognition that different parts of the country are not all starting from the same place. To avoid exacerbating health inequalities, the support made available to implement this plan should be targeted at those areas with the biggest improvements to make.

‘The most significant risk to this new vision of digital health and care is the lack of capacity among the health and care workforce. NHS and social care staff are already under intense pressure and many will wonder where they will find the time needed to learn the new skills to use technologies, change organisational culture to work better with tech innovators, and avoid the pitfall of implementing new tech without adequately consulting the staff and patients who will use it.’

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.