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NHS: New Technology

Volume 662: debated on Tuesday 18 June 2019

To increase the access to new technology across the NHS, we have expanded the accelerated access collaborative to get the best technologies in faster, and NHSX is delivering our tech vision to drive forward digital transformation of the NHS.

I welcome the way my right hon. Friend has really put a stamp on ensuring that technology is at the heart of his health policy. Can he tell me whether the accelerated access collaborative will engage locally, particularly with the sustainability and transformation partnerships, so that it eventually leads to better outcomes for our constituents?

Yes, my hon. Friend is absolutely right. There is a reason why we care about using the very best technology in the world in the NHS, and that is that it improves treatment for patients. The regional delivery of better technology is critical. The 15 regional academic health science networks are a key part of the AAC and they work closely with local hospitals.

24. The Secretary of State will know that in Greater Manchester we spend over £1 million a year on keeping and storing paper-based assessment records made in the early years by health visitors. Will he work with us to eradicate that cost and get the digital licences we need? (911425)

Yes, 100%. One of the reasons we have put NHSX in place is to drive exactly this policy agenda, where we can get better treatment for patients and save money.

Earlier this year, the Secretary of State attended the launch of a report on artificial intelligence by the all-party parliamentary group on heart and circulatory diseases. Can I get a commitment from him that AI is very much part of the future through the NHS long-term plan?

A most enthusiastic commitment! My hon. Friend has led on this agenda and driven it, because it is all about using technology to save lives. The report that he mentions is optimistic about the power of using data better to ensure that people can live longer.

On new technology and saving lives, I met the Secretary of State last month to discuss making the innovative enzyme replacement therapy Brineura— the only treatment available for Batten disease—available on the NHS urgently. I have heard nothing since that meeting, and the wait is agonising for the families, so what will he do urgently to make this life-saving treatment available to children in England?

I had an incredibly moving meeting with the hon. Lady, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Somerset (Mr Rees-Mogg) and others, and some of the families and children who have Batten disease. I have since met the chief executive of the NHS. The decision on the availability of the drug in question is, of course, one for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and NHS England, but I have had those meetings and I continue to make the case.

The electronic prescription service is now used by more than 90% of GP practices, and more than 70% of prescriptions are issued in that way. As well as providing a better patient experience, how much money has this saved for the NHS?

My hon. Friend is dead right to say that this provides a better service and saves money. I do not have the figure at my fingertips, but I will write to him with the answer and ensure that it is published for the whole House to see.

Patients in my constituency have to travel vast distances—often in excess of a 200-mile round trip—to be seen at Raigmore Hospital. As and when properly working visual teleconsultations are brought into being, when that technology is developed, may I appeal to the Government to share the technology with the Scottish Government and with NHS Highland?

Absolutely. Places like Caithness are a great example of where GP consultations that can be done over the phone or over a video conference can save people hours and hours. Of course they sometimes need to see their GP in person, but not always. We are driving this agenda hard in England, and I would be happy to work with the NHS in Scotland to ensure that that technology is taken up there, too.