NHSX sets out digital guidance for NHS trusts

NHSX has published new digital guidelines for NHS leaders and organisations.

The ‘What Good Looks Like’ framework aims to give NHS managers clear instructions on using digital in their service.

It calls for patients to be able to digitally access their care plans and test results, for trusts to explore new ways of delivering care such as remote monitoring and consultations, and to improve care using electronic prescribing systems.

Local bodies will be given access to an online knowledge base which will include blueprints, standards, templates, real-life examples and best practice guides for the new guidelines.  

The guidance will be followed up with an assessment process to be outlined by NHSX later this year, so NHS services can identify gaps and prioritise areas for investment and improvement.

NHSX has also published the ‘Who Pays For What’ proposal, which sets out a division of responsibility for technology funding and invites NHS organisations for feedback.

It is bringing together multiple existing funding pots into one national application process, making it easier for local organisations to bid and for central bodies to ensure funding is allocated fairly.

In future years the proposals would see a move away from national funding programmes, with funding for local technology spend allocated to Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).  


The guidance outlines a common foundation that should be in place across the NHS, from using secure digital infrastructure to ensuring digital systems are designed to meet the needs of staff and patients.

NHSX say the resources are an important step in continuing to digitise NHS services and build on the progress made in adopting digital tools during the pandemic.


NHSX has already switched the focus of technology funding to supporting organisations to digitise more quickly. Nearly 60 trusts are involved in the NHSX Digital Aspirants programme, including North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has decided to extend its review of methods for technology appraisals and guidance production for highly specialised technologies.


Matthew Gould, NHSX chief executive, said: “These two documents will give frontline leaders the essential guidance they need to plan their digital transformation. They set out what they should be driving towards, and how they will need to pay for it.”

Health and social care secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “This new guidance from NHSX provides a clear direction to all NHS trusts on how to drive digital transformation forward and transform organisations, which will improve patient care and save lives.”

Minister for innovation, Lord Bethell, said: “Using innovative technology to support people is not just limited to our response to COVID-19. It can transform the way we care for people with long-term conditions, detect cancer faster and save clinicians valuable time, ultimately improving the care the NHS provides and saving lives.”




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