MPs launch inquiry into progress of digitalisation in the NHS

The Health Select Committee will examine how cooperation between the NHS and private sector can boost innovation in healthcare as part of its newly launched inquiry into digital transformation in the NHS.

MPs have launched the inquiry in response to the independent Wade-Gery review of data, digital and technology, published at the end of last year, which found the NHS was ‘too far away’ from being able to achieve the digital transformation committed to by ministers.

The inquiry will assess government progress to date on moving towards a digital approach to healthcare and establish what further steps need to be taken.

Among its terms of reference, it will look at how the government can communicate the benefits of digital platforms, progress in dealing with legacy IT systems across the NHS and how the platforms used in NHS hospitals compare to those used in the US.

In addition, it will examine what progress has been made in digitising health and care records for interoperability and on making data captured for care available for clinical research through digital transformation. Specifically, MPs will look at what lessons have been learned from the success of the streamlined and accelerated nature of the RECOVERY trial, as pioneered during the pandemic by Professor Sir Martin Landray, which established the benefits of dexamethasone to reduce deaths in Covid patients.

‘The success of the RECOVERY dexamethasone trial leading to hundreds of thousands of lives being saved shows what can be done when you put the right data in the hands of medical researchers,’ said Committee chair Jeremy Hunt.

‘We will be challenging ministers on what actions they are taking to put data, digital and tech at the heart of transforming not only the NHS but the lives of patients.’

MPs will also consider the need to develop public trust, with polling suggesting a third of people are unconvinced about the long-term use of digital in the NHS and the need for reassurance about data security.

The Inquiry is accepting evidence until 10 June 2022.