Integrated system for health and social care ‘essential’, Javid says

Health and social care integration can help deliver a better patient experience, the health and social care secretary said

24th September 2021 about a 2 minute read
"Too much of the system doesn’t currently have the basics in place, which frustrates patients and makes life harder for colleagues on the front line." Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health and social care


A “truly integrated system” for health and social care is essential, the health and social care secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Addressing the Founders Forum Health Tech Summit, Javid said that the UK must “level up” digital health inequalities to ensure the long-term sustainability of health and social care.

Javid said it was time to “build on the progress that we’ve all seen and deliver this long-awaited digital revolution.”

Deployed in the right way, he added, technology could be a “great leveller”. The opportunities of digital transformation should be “spread fairly so that everyone can benefit,” he added.

Too much of health and social care still didn’t have the “basics” in place, Javid said, “which frustrates patients and makes life harder for colleagues on the front line.”

This included one in 10 NHS trusts, who were still operating largely on paper-based systems, while in social care, 71% of the sector has no digital access to information on the medication of people in their care.

Addressing this problem, Javid said, entailed “shoring up our cyber security capability, replacing technology that’s out of date, and supporting the adoption of shared care records.”

Progress was already being made, he added: by the end of September, 88% of integrated care systems will have a shared record in place up from 65% six months ago.

Monitoring technologies enable people to measure blood oxygen at home

Javid referred to a visit he made to a hospital in Milton Keynes two months ago, where he saw that a shared record system had reduced the time it took to access a record from 15 minutes to 30 seconds. In care homes, he added, “it means releasing over 10 hours of care worker time per care home each week.”

The pandemic had intensified the development of new technologies, he noted, with more than 300,000 people using monitoring technologies such as pulse oximeters that let them measure their own blood oxygen levels at home.

He drew particular attention to the government’s investment in artificial intelligence (AI), noting an investment of £140m in its AI Health and Care Award to back particularly innovative use of the technology. Recent winners, he said, included “an algorithm that could improve the detection of lung cancer, smartphone apps that can detect warning signs for chronic kidney disease, and a programme that can analyse speech patterns to detect common neurological and psychiatric diseases.”