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Health and Social Care (Information Strategy)

Volume 545: debated on Monday 21 May 2012

Today I am publishing “The Power of Information: Putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need”. This information strategy for health and social care in England is our response to “Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution— A consultation on proposals” which sought views on proposals to transform the way information is collected, analysed, controlled and used in NHS and social care across England and is underpinned by provisions in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

I am grateful to the many people who provided valuable input into this consultation and to the NHS Future Forum for the excellent work it undertook throughout its listening exercise. Building on the wealth of experience, viewpoints and insights gained through the consultation and the NHS Future Forum’s work, this document sets out the overall ambition and early actions to transform our health and our care services to meet our needs and expectations, for now and the future.

For citizens, patients and users of care services, this strategy sets out how a new approach to information and IT across health and care can lead to more joined up, safer, better care for all. The strategy spans information for patients, service users, carers, clinicians and other care professionals, managers, commissioners, councillors, researchers, and many others.

Unlike previous information strategies, this new information strategy does not reinvent large-scale information systems or set down detailed mechanisms for delivery on a national template. Rather, it provides a 10-year framework and a route map to lead a transformation in the way information is collected and used. It starts from the purposes for which information is required, and the opportunities it offers for quality improvement. It aims to harness information and new technologies to achieve higher quality care and improve outcomes for patients and service users. It enables local leadership and innovation alongside national standards.

There are three key themes in the strategy:

modern, convenient information access—new online services such as booking general practitioner appointments, access to records online, a new integrated national website and 111 phone number;

modern information and technology for professionals—improving safety and quality. Standards ensuring systems can talk to each other, consistent use of the NHS “number”, work to allow new technologies in maternity services, piloting new barcode technology in care homes to improve medication safety and encouraging “clinical portals” for professionals to view records; and

patient and citizen rights—information support as a service, and potential changes to the NHS constitution around right to feedback online, access to records online and support for understanding information.

In summary, this strategy sets out the overall ambition and the early actions that will enable information to transform our health and our care services to meet our needs and expectations, for now and the future.

“The Power of Information: Putting all of us in control of the health and care information we need” has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.