Health secretary announces £260m funding for NHS hospitals

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Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced £260m funding for NHS hospitals, to be invested in patient safety plans.

Hunt's announcement comes in response to the Francis report, which called on the NHS to make better use of technology.

The statement today said: "Last year 11 people died in the NHS because they were given the wrong prescriptions. This fund will be used to increase the use of technology which will help stop drugs being prescribed incorrectly because patients notes have been lost.

"Errors in prescriptions are present in as many as 8% of hospital prescriptions and studies have shown that the use of technology can cut these errors by half."

The fund will aim to protect patients by ensuring doctors and nurses are able to access accurate details about care of a patient.

And records can now follow patient's electronically through their journey of care.

Hunt said: "This fund will allow doctors and nurses to make the NHS safer by harnessing the very latest technology. In many places, right now, a paramedic picking up a frail elderly woman who has had a fall will not always know she has dementia, because he or she cannot access her notes.

"Or a doctor is prescribing the wrong drugs, because they don't know what drugs their patient is already on."

The fund will be used by hospitals to replace outdated paper-based systems for patient notes and prescriptions, as part of the plan to make the NHS go digital by 2018.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, medical director of NHS England, said: "This new fund will help patients get better and safer care by giving clinicians access to the right information when they need it most.

"Supporting hospitals to replace outdated paper systems for notes and prescriptions will help relieve patients' frustration at having to repeat their medical and medication history over and over again, often in the same hospital, because their records aren't available."

NHS hospitals can bid for the money to fund projects and to be eligible, must demonstrate it will lead to better, safer care.

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