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Could technology be a cure for patient and nursing challenges in the NHS?

A new leader for Health and Social Care from the digital sector steps up the adoption of technology in healthcare.
Matt Hancock the new Secretary for Health and Social Care has already pledged nearly half a billion pounds in investment into new technology for the NHS. This former secretary for digital, culture, media and sport has centred his vision around three priorities with a key focus on technology.

Years of tight budgets has meant that there is still a large amount of manual processing and old technology in use within the NHS. Many hospitals are still reliant on fax machines and paper-based systems. The technology scrapped by many private companies in the 2000s is still very much in place in our hospitals.

Investment brings hope for patients and healthcare workers
In a recent press conference Mr Hancock pledged £412 million is for the improvement of technology in hospitals and providing patients greater access to health services at home. The £75 million remainder will be focused on replacing paper systems with electronic methods to reduce clerical errors in medication administration. This month we have seen the launch of the NHS mobile app, with its core objective of putting control in the hands of the patients so they can book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and see their medical notes.

Mr Hancock sees the need to embrace and embed technology as important as its implementation for return on investment. This culture of change that embraces technology is a key focus for the new Secretary of Health and Social Care. This should surely be a welcome step forward, but we must ask how will the busy teams learn new software user interfaces when they are out of pace with employees in the private sector? They will be playing catch up when already under pressure to provide care with limited resources and time.

Are NHS employees ready for this technology change?
At Team24, we often need to help our candidates to complete online assessments and necessary administration. We hope this government investment will take into account the time and training required to ensure healthcare employees get the right support to enjoy the benefits that efficient technology should bring.

We are in definite agreement that technology has a greater role to play in improving patient care and healthcare employees’ employment experiences. With surveys by firms such as PWC predicting that artificial intelligence will have the biggest positive impact on job creation in the UK health and social care sectors; we look forward to helping employers not only find the care providers but also the technologists entering the healthcare workforce. A change in work dynamic is coming and it is definitely an exciting time if the promises and action result in new skills and opportunities for healthcare workers and improved patient care.

Could technology investment in the healthcare sector attract and keep candidates?
It is widely reported that the healthcare sector both private and public is suffering from a lack of new recruits and reduction in available staff due to qualified staff leaving the profession. This new focus on technology could have the effect of attracting students into the healthcare profession if there is a long-term opportunity for taking part in a digital transformation. There may also be an increased incentive to remain in the sector and not abandon it for work in industries perceived to offer better progression and career satisfaction.

Plenty of studies exist in other sectors to show that access to technology and associated training has a positive impact on employee engagement and the attractiveness of employers for workers to apply and stay with an organisation.
We have our virtual fingers crossed!

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