NHS doctor

What does 2017 look like for the NHS?

In fact, 2016 was full of doom and gloom for the NHS – so what can we expect for 2017?

What does 2017 look like for the NHS?

doctor taking medicine from a phone-shaped cupboard

2016 was a bad year for the NHS.

The stats don’t look great:

* 1 in 10 patients in England has to wait over 4 hours to be seen in A&E.

* There are over 4 million people currently waiting for an operation.

* Primary care – such as GPs and clinics – provides 90% of NHS consultations, but receives only 8% of the budget.

* Bursaries for trainee nurses have been cut, resulting in a 20% fall in applicants.

* More than 13,000 beds have been closed, reducing patient capacity by 5 million a year.

In fact, 2016 was full of doom and gloom for the NHSso what can we expect for 2017?

Although the Tories continue to cut NHS funding, health secretary Jeremy Hunt did set one productive target in 2016: to achieve a paperless NHS by 2020.

While the NHS still struggles under the weight of paper, most experts agree that going digital will be good for patients, physicians and the NHS budget.

Here are the major benefits technology can bring to the NHS:

Reduced errors

Electronic prescribing systems are not only quicker and easier to use than paper prescriptions, they also ensure the right medicine is given to the right person in the right quantity. In fact, according to NHS England, digital prescribing systems reduce medication errors by 50%.

Improved care

Paperwork is time consuming, so digital systems are guaranteed to save NHS trusts tons of time. Without paperwork, GPs will be able to see more patients each day – increasing surgery capacity. Consultants will have more time to spend treating patients – increasing the quality of care. And trainees won't have to waste time writing up training notes – allowing them to spend more time learning.

Easier diagnosis

One of the biggest benefits of digital is being able to share data. Patients' medical records can be uploaded onto a unified system and shared across trusts, clinics and surgeries. This means physicians

will always have access to up-to-date records – increasing accurate diagnosis rates.

Lower costs

Digitalisation will bring huge financial benefits to the NHS. With electronic systems, paper, printing and administration costs are significantly reduced as physicians can complete admin as they go along. The costs of storing paper records are also eliminated – saving between £500,000 and £1 million per year, per trust.

Better training

With a digital training software, trainee nurses, doctors and apprentices can train on the ward during their shift, collecting photos, videos and audio recordings as evidence of their progress. This reduces the amount of time wasted writing up notes – giving learners more time to spend with patients.


Technology is the way forward for the NHS. But with so many different options out there, it can be difficult to find the right solution for your trust.

Take the next step towards a paper-free NHS.

We've been helping the NHS eliminate paperwork for over decade, and our learning and development software is already used by 19 NHS trusts.

What do NHS trusts think? Read our case study from North Bristol NHS Trust to find out!

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.