Additional £250m for NHS technology in 2022, but where are the staff to deliver it?
Towards the end of 2021 the government announced it would provide nearly £250 million to the NHS to modernise diagnostics technology. According to the official government press release, “the NHS will receive £248 million over the next year to invest in technology that will deliver more diagnostic tests, checks and scans to help provide faster diagnosis of a health condition, earlier treatment and reduce waiting lists.”
The announcement was framed in the broader context of the government’s plan to tackle waiting lists and speed up routine treatments as the NHS tackles the backlog of patients after the COVID-19 pandemic.
But there is one glaring issue with this announcement. Where are the people who can actually deliver this technology into NHS trusts? Technology alone doesn’t create innovation and efficiencies; you need the people to deliver it and staff to be trained how to use it. This takes time, and with the current shortage of IT consultants (since they're all engaged in transformation projects elsewhere), the government may find this takes a lot longer than it anticipated.