ALAN MAK: My vision for a paperless NHS empowering patients

This year the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary, and as we look ahead to the future at this historic milestone we should be looking at how technology can improve services for patients.

Tuesday, 8th May 2018, 5:58 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:07 pm
Alan Mak MP, centre, Centre for Policy Studies director Robert Colvile, left, and with Jeremy Hunt, right

That’s the argument I made in a report that was published by leading think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies last week, which was endorsed by the health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The full report can be downloaded from my website at

My report sets a target that by the 80th anniversary of the NHS in 2028 all interactions within the health service will be digitally driven.

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In other words, the NHS needs to become digital first. That starts with the systematic abolition of outdated technology such as fax machines and pagers, which are still used prolifically in hospitals and around the health service.

Ultimately the aim is to a create a healthcare system which is as easy to use as Amazon or Netflix, and to do that the NHS needs to move forward with plans to create an app that could be a one-stop shop for our healthcare needs.

The health secretary has already signalled his support for an NHS app. My proposal is for an app called NHS NOW, a fully integrated system that can be used cradle to grave.

It would bring together the diverse range of online services already offered by the NHS so GP appointments, hospital visits, healthcare advice, NHS Direct, lifestyle tips and emergency services are available through one app.

It is time to give patients the power to control their own healthcare choices by making information available to them at their fingertips.

Rightly, people of all ages and political persuasions back the founding principle of an NHS free at the point of use.

As policymakers, our job is to ensure that the NHS is renewed and stays relevant for the next generation.

Only a fully digital NHS, with an NHS App service available to patients, can deliver the health service that is fit for the future.

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