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Digital health and care plan sets vision for 2025


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has summed up plans to embed digital technologies in health and social care by 2025.

Its newly published policy paper, A plan for digital health and social care, says it is aimed at clarifying disparate sources of guidance and making it simpler for the technology industry to collaborate with public sector partners in delivering solutions.

The document describes itself as consolidating different digital goals and investments, pulling together a number of programmes and targets – some in the data strategy for the sector – to inform the decisions of integrated care systems (ICSs) and their members in health and social care.

Along with the plan to add new features to the NHS App and increase remote monitoring of patients with long term conditions, it says the two key elements of its vision are that by 2025: local digital foundations to transform services are embedded across the system; and it is equipped to deliver the benefits of digital transformation to all.

This identifies the core digital capabilities to have in place as electronic records and other critical systems, resilience to cyber attacks and fast connectivity. Organisations will have their progress measured in annual maturity assessments against the ‘What Good Looks Like’ framework and its accompanying hub.


It reiterates targets for all NHS trusts to have electronic patient record (EPR) in place by March 2025, and for 80% of social care providers registered with the Care Quality Commission to have a digital record system.

For cyber security, DHSC plans to publish a strategy in the winter, is aiming to strengthen the NHS Security Operations Centre and will fund dedicated cyber staff in each ICS and NHS region.

Simon Bolton, chief executive at NHS Digital, said: “We are committed to working with our partners across health and social care to deliver the digitally enabled transformation of the NHS and create a system which provides better outcomes and access for patients.”


Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at NHS Confederation, said: “The plan presents an exciting opportunity not only to expand access to care via digital channels, but to accelerate the adoption of evidence based technologies that will help make care more preventative, personalised and empowering for patients.

“The task ahead will be challenging and must be done carefully not to exacerbate inequality. It’s important that investment in IT infrastructure for the NHS continues and that systems are supported to implement these changes as they work hard to tackle the care backlogs. We hope that the forthcoming digital workforce strategy will help address recruitment and retention issues whilst making the NHS an attractive place to work for digital professionals.”

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