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New inquiry to examine government progress on digital transformation of NHS

13 May 2022

MPs have launched a new inquiry to examine government progress to achieve a digitally enabled health system across the NHS. 


Despite successes such as the use of data analytics to support the vaccine roll-out, the independent Wade-Gery review of data, digital and tech reported that the NHS was “too far away” from being able to achieve digital transformation. In response, the Health and Social Care Committee called for NHS England to produce a roadmap as a matter of urgency. 

The inquiry will assess Government progress to date on moving towards a digital approach to healthcare and establishing what further steps need to be taken. The RECOVERY trial, led by Professor Martin Landray that established the benefits of dexamethasone to reduce patient deaths during the pandemic, has been highlighted by the Government as a data success story. 

MPs will also consider the need to develop public trust, with polling suggesting a third of people are unconvinced about the long-term use of digital in the NHS and the need for reassurance about data security.

Chair's comment

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Jeremy Hunt MP said: 

“The success of the RECOVERY dexamethasone trial leading to hundreds of thousands of lives being saved shows what can be done when you put the right data in the hands of medical researchers.

“Though the Government has committed itself to bringing about a digital transformation of the NHS an independent review found it was way off achieving this goal.

“We will be challenging Ministers on what actions they are taking to put data, digital and tech at the heart of transforming not only the NHS but the lives of patients.”

Terms of reference

The Committee invites written submissions addressing any, or all, of the following points of no more than 3,000 words should be submitted here by Friday 10 June.

  • How can the Government communicate the benefits of digital approaches in healthcare to the public and provide assurances as to the security of their data? 
  • What progress has been made in dealing with the proliferation of legacy IT systems across the NHS? 
  • How do IT platforms used in NHS hospitals in England compare with those used in hospitals in the United States? 
  • How can the Government effectively foster co-operation between the NHS and the private sector to both develop and implement innovation in healthcare? 
  • What other functions could and should be performed on the NHS App? 
  • What progress has been made in digitising health and care records for interoperability, such that they can be accessed by professionals across primary, secondary, and social care? 
  • What progress has been made on making data captured for care available for clinical research through digital transformation? 
  • Specifically, have lessons been learned from the success of the streamlined and accelerated nature of the RECOVERY trial, as pioneered during the pandemic by Professor Sir Martin Landray? 
  • What should be the timescale for incorporating genomic data into patients’ medical records? 
  • What are the principal considerations that should be taken into account in this context and what additional training of the workforce will be needed to achieve this? 
  • How can the creation or exacerbation of digital inequalities be avoided when implementing digital transformation? 

Further information

Image: PA