The government published its much-delayed social care white paper to almost universal disappointment. Experts agreed that while its ten-year vision is good, there isn’t nearly enough money to realise it, or to address the immediate crisis in the sector.
Meanwhile, a new Covid-19 variant of concern was identified and named ‘omicron’ by the World Health Organisation. Two trusts progressed Alcidion electronic patient record deployments. WiFi SPARK got into the festive spirit early, by announcing a three free days of festive TV offer.
It was the end of the road for NHSX and NHS Digital as Laura Wade Gery’s review of NHS technology was finally published and the government accepted her recommendation to roll the two bodies into NHS England. Reaction was mixed, with health and tech bodies worried about project blight in the short term and a loss of digital identity and influence in the longer term.
The government is likely to publish its elective recovery plan for the NHS next week. Pre-briefing has focused on the idea of scrapping most outpatient appointments in favour of remote monitoring and patient initiated follow-up.
Ambulance trust leaders tried to focus on attention on the harm caused by long ambulance handover delays, and management bodies renewed their calls for the government to try and prevent the collapse of social care this winter. In response, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid gave a speech about “seizing the moment” for reform and the need for better leadership.
Intriguingly, he suggested that national IT leadership might be an early candidate for attention. Scarborough Hull York Pathology announced that it is working with CliniSys on a distributed model of working across its four laboratories. And more services went live with digital solutions and apps.