Focusing on technology is not a panacea but if the health secretary can help drive change, it will be time well spent
Passing chatbots for dementia patients and tools for manipulating big data as he entered the annual NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo in Manchester on Thursday, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, could have been forgiven for thinking the health service is well on the way to exploiting the potential of digital technology.
But visits to see hospital and ambulance services in action as he gets to grips with his new post have left him horrified at the pervasive and lethal weaknesses in NHS technology, and he has wasted no time in giving vent to his feelings.
Hancock loves tech. He used to work for his family’s software business, was the first MP to launch his own app and was responsible for digital policy as a minister for two years in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.