AI has potential to offer major benefits to patients, but investment in NHS IT also critical

30 October 2023

Responding to an announcement that £21m is being allocated to 64 NHS trusts across England to roll out artificial intelligence (AI) tools to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, the chief executive of NHS Providers, Sir Julian Hartley said:

"At a time when waiting lists are at another record high and the NHS workforce is under significant pressure, new technologies, such as AI, have the potential to offer major benefits to patients, staff and healthcare.

"Many trusts are already rolling out new technologies including electronic patient records, virtual wards and electronic prescribing as part of wider efforts to speed up diagnosis and treatment of patients.

"This is particularly important as we head into what is likely to be another tough winter for frontline services.

"But the success of these new innovations will depend on sustainable funding for digital teams, who are fundamental to enabling and embedding smarter working across the health service.

"It will be important too that as new technologies are rolled out, the needs of patients and their families are put front and centre to ensure these new services are trusted by everyone.

"It is also vital that the opportunities presented by technology in the NHS to transform care for patients and improve access to services is not at the expense of the critical need to invest in core digital and IT infrastructure across the NHS or in developing the skills of NHS and care professionals skills, who will adapt to these new ways of working."