PM promises IT funding for nurses

 An extra £100m for purchase of new IT resources to aid frontline NHS patient care has been promised by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The funding will be used for electronic data handling, recording and communication systems – enabling nurses and midwives to spend “more time at the bedside”, he said.

Hospitals will access the funding in the form of loans, repayment of which will be reduced depending on patient endorsement through the new ‘friends and family’ feedback system.

A further £40m is promised to develop the clinical leadership skills of 10,000 ward sisters and community nursing team leaders over the next two years.

The PM also announced a £15m cancer radiotherapy innovation fund, starting from April 2013.

New Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented: “Most nurses and midwives chose their profession because they wanted to spend time caring for patients, not filling out paperwork. New technology can make that happen.”

Guidance for foundation trusts on the ‘friends and families’ NHS patient endorsement system was published by the DH on 1 October, and the system will be operative from April 2013.

Patients will be asked whether they would recommend a particular hospital ward or department to their friends and family. The results will highlight local priorities for the trusts.