Elderly woman in conversation with a doctor on a tablet PC

NHS Confederation: Inclusivity key to digital care

Increasingly, as the NHS continues to manage the ongoing virus, digital solutions have played a key part in delivering care to patients. We have seen a vast range of digital innovations, many of which we could benefit from long after Covid-19.

However, it is essential that as we embed these technologies and innovations into our health service, we ensure that all are able to benefit from them, or do not see their care negatively affected by the move to digital solutions.

In response to a recent Health Foundation report - titled Securing a positive health care technology legacy from Covid-19 - Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation, Dr Layla McCay, said: “The findings of this report show how hard NHS staff have worked to make sure patients can still access care, be that face-to-face or digitally.

“They have also worked hard to make the experience of digital and remote care as close to ‘normal’ as possible. NHS organisations rolled out new technology at an incredible pace during the pandemic, helped by targeted funding, support and co-operation, which needs to be included in any long-term digital strategy for the NHS.

“While digital solutions are invaluable, they must be used alongside other points of access.

“Of course, the NHS has never been a ‘digital-only’ service during the Covid-19 crisis, including in primary care, and face-to-face care has been and will always be available to those who need it, as well as for those who do not have access to technology.

“Innovations in digital care achieved during the pandemic have expedited opportunities to embed a blended approach of both face-to-face and digital options where relevant in accessing care.

“This mix should be designed to best support patients to access care in ways that are right for them, and reflect the need for access to inclusive and appropriate services for everyone who needs them.”

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