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NHS Digital annual report and accounts 2019 to 2020

Summary and highlights of our achievements over the last financial year.

Our annual report and accounts explains how we have this year:

  • supported the health and care system to respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • delivered many new and improved technology and data solutions for NHS staff and patients
  • strengthened our capability and resilience

Key highlights

Read our key highlights from 2019 to 2020.

Coronavirus response

Highlights include:

  • continuously expanding and enhancing patient-facing services, including NHS.UK, NHS 111 online and the NHS App, which were used by millions of citizens as a ‘digital front door’ to check symptoms, determine whether they needed in-person care and access the latest information on COVID-19 - at the height of the pandemic, our 111 Online service managed traffic at volumes ninety-five times our highest ever pre-Covid utilisation
  • rapidly responding to a request from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) to develop a clinical algorithm to identify individuals likely to be highly vulnerable to coronavirus - NHS Digital continues to refine and issue weekly iterations of the Shielded Patients List which is used to support and protect more than 2 million vulnerable people
  • regularly reflecting evolving advice and guidance about coronavirus in NHS Pathways, the core clinical decision support system that underpins remote assessment and triage of callers to urgent and emergency care by NHS 111, 999 services and NHS 111 online
  • delivering the digital infrastructure for Testing, with partners, to provide additional testing capacity through drive-in test centres, roaming test vans and home testing services
  • delivering a ‘self-isolation notes’ service that allows patients to create certificates to inform employers of absence due to coronavirus without having to visit their GP; 1.3 million notes were generated between the launch in March to mid-May
  • providing data, analysis, dashboards and tools to help the health and care system understand the prevalence of coronavirus infection, manage capacity and plan the response - we have also contributed to key research studies, including those looking at the increased risk to people from ethnic minorities, diabetes as a risk factor, and convalescent plasma as a treatment for critically ill patients
  • developing strong partnerships with research organisations and providing a trusted research environment for England and, at the request of the BMA and RCGP, NHS Digital is collecting data from general practice to support planning and research
  • improving access to patient information through sharing of additional information from GP systems on the Summary Care Records for approximately 50 million patients - this includes details about long-term conditions, medication, coronavirus status and whether a patient has been advised to shield
  • enabling clinical collaboration through acceleration of our GP Connect platform, enabling patient records and appointment booking across providers, and extending the Electronic Prescription Service to reduce patient contact and improve efficiency  
  • supporting the adoption of virtual consultation across primary and secondary care and facilitated collaboration through deployment of Microsoft Teams for 1.2 million NHS users

Pre-coronavirus period of the financial year

Highlights include:

  • releasing the NHS App nationally in April 2019, allowing people to book or cancel GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions, view their GP record, make organ donor registrations, change their preferences about the use of their data, and access health and care advice from NHS 111 online and the NHS website 
  • verifying more than 1.3 million NHS login accounts, which provides people with a single login to access multiple digital health and social care services, including the NHS App - thirteen services have integrated with NHS login and more than 50 are in development
  • enabling GPs to email appointment request details to patients, reducing printing and postage costs for GP practices and improving patients’ digital experience by improving the Electronic Referral Service
  • launching the new GP IT framework, Digital Care Services, allowing GP practices to choose from 69 suppliers offering about 250 IT solutions based on shared, open standards
  • introducing our new Data Processing Services platform in May 2019 that enables us to collect, process and access data in a smarter, more efficient way, using leading-edge privacy technology
  • creating a partnership with the University of Oxford, Microsoft and IBM for a new service to manage - clinical trials in the UK, called NHS DigiTrials - it helps researchers quickly and accurately gather information about possible trial cohorts and supports patient enrolment and communication, radically reducing the cost of trials and allowing extraordinarily detailed follow-up
  • launching the National Events Management Service that allows patient-centric event messages to be published from one system and distributed to other subscriber systems in a timely manner - Digital Child Health went first in March 2019, which included the ability to send events such as changes of address or GP, birth and death notifications to child health organisations, health visiting services and approved national app providers
  • progressing with the development of an application programming interface (API) platform, creating new developer resources, APIs and standards that make it easier for the developer community to work with us
  • improving the cyber preparedness of both national and local systems across the NHS over the past year through providing better cyber protection on devices, monitoring and real-time response to cyber threats and close support for local organisations
  • managing more than 100 services for the NHS and care system, including vital systems like the NHS Spine, the Health and Social Care Network, the Summary Care Record application and NHSmail - throughout the year, we provided safe, fast and reliable access to  health and care staff and members of the public achieving 99.99% availability across all key services

View our annual report and accounts

Download our annual report and accounts

Last edited: 22 July 2020 1:08 pm