Trade body urges more IT spend on healthcare

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Trade body urges more IT spend on healthcare

Health service IT investment must more than double to meet the demands of the UK’s ageing population, says technology trade body Intellect.

Health service IT investment must more than double to meet the demands of the UK’s ageing population, says technology trade body Intellect.

The group is campaigning to bring IT spending up to four per cent of the overall NHS budget, in line with the recommendations of the 2002 Wanless report on the future of healthcare.

Intellect says increased technology investment will mean lower costs, improved patient safety, and ultimately more self-administered home care for the elderly and people with long-term problems.

"We have an ageing population and chronic diseases are on the increase and will need to be managed,’ said Intellect healthcare program manager Sinead Quinn.

"Health systems will be under more pressure so that is why we need more investment now.

"If we wait until crisis point it will be too late," she said.

Intellect says it will be talking to medical practitioners to ensure it has their support.

But some doctors remain sceptical, not least because the high-profile £6bn National Program for NHS IT has faced such criticism from that quarter.

"I would have grave doubts about doubling the current investment," said Dr Paul Cundy, chairman of the British Medical Association GP IT committee.

"We are spending large amounts already and we want to make sure the things we buy actually help," he said.

Intellect says that current technology investment is less than two per cent of the health service’s overall budget.

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