Dr Peter Estcourt
I fear Ms Caulfield shows a failure to appreciate the problems of the NHS and suggests all can be resolved by a little money and new technology.
£20 billion a year sounds a lot and is indeed very welcome but the overall underspend imposed on the NHS by the coalition and Conservative governments amounts to over £80 billion.
Moreover they have inflicted extra cost of about £8 billion annually as a result of the internal market and the Health and Social Care Bill along with picking up the pieces resulting from the failure to come to grips with Social Care.
There are currently 97,000 vacancies in the NHS including 37,000 nurses and at least 10,000 doctors and no plan is in place to correct this deficit.
Indeed by removing bursaries for nurse training ( applications for nurse training are down by two thirds ) and the madness of Brexit nursing shortages are only going to increase.
Saddled with huge debts young doctors are encouraged to emigrate to escape years of financial hardship.
To suggest that these problems can be solved by technology is pie in the sky.
Large scale technology fixes have an appalling record in both the public and private sectors ( Universal Credit, Capita, Labour’s attempt on electronic records, probation service etc)
Of course technology is important but Ms Caulfield- an ex nurse-should know that medicine is an intensely personal matter and people like to see a human face and preferably one they can relate to.
Most users of the NHS are elderly and often not abreast of all forms of modern technology .
I fear that digitalisation will be another costly failure and divert money from where it is most needed in equipment,staff and training which would lead to better patient care.