NHS gets £248m tech funding as 'first step' to tackle record waiting list

8 November 2021, 00:01

Sajid Javid said the funding for faster diagnoses is a 'first step to getting more people the treatment they need and earlier on'.
Sajid Javid said the funding for faster diagnoses is a 'first step to getting more people the treatment they need and earlier on'. Picture: Getty

By James Morris

The NHS will receive £248m funding for diagnostic technology as a "first step" to tackle the record waiting list backlog.

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The Department of Health said reform of digital diagnostics services will increase the efficiency of sharing tests, images and results between hospitals, labs and GP surgeries.

It said this will lead to quicker detection of illnesses and reduce waiting times for treatment.

The NHS hospital treatment backlog in England has reached a new record, with the number of people waiting more than two years rising to nearly 10,000.

A total of 5.7 million people were also waiting to start routine hospital treatment at the end of August, according to figures from NHS England.

Under the new computer system, X-ray experts will be able to review high-resolution images remotely 24 hours a day without needing to be in an imaging laboratory.

The funding will also enable GPs to choose the most suitable type of scan for their patient based on their symptoms and medical history, saving them having to make requests to radiologists.

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Health secretary Sajid Javid said the funding, for the next year, will help "drive up efficiency" in the NHS.

He promised it will "reduce unnecessary administrative burden and make every taxpayers' pound count".

Mr Javid added it is the "first step to getting more people the treatment they need and earlier on".

The funding follows recommendations from Professor Sir Mike Richards' independent review of NHS diagnostics.