Big Savings Expected For NHS Due to Automation

Laura Donnelly, Health Editor for the outlined a new mandate that Great Britain has given its National Health Service. Long the butt-end of arguments about national healthcare in America, the national healthcare opponents point at the British health care service and say, “Look how slow and plodding their health care is!”

That may become a thing of the past with the new investments planned and the amount of AI and automation (robotics) that those investments will bring, including robotic surgeries and carebot nurses for routine chores. Bedside robots could do much of the work now done by doctors and nurses, saving the NHS a tenth of its budget, almost £13bn a year.

The controversial  study led by surgeon and former health minister Lord Darzi calls for the “full automation” of health and social services, claiming it would give staff time to care for patients.

Almost one-third of the tasks now done by nurses, and nearly one-quarter of that done by hospital doctors could be done by robots and artificial intelligence systems, it says.

The research, due out tomorrow, follows calls from the Health and Social Care Secretary for a focus on a “technological revolution” across the NHS. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to announce a major investment in the health service in a 10-year-plan, but said funds must be invested to reduce costs.

Robotics are expected to be a major part of the change. The Institute of Public Policy Research says “carebots” could be used to keep frail elderly people at home, encouraging their owners to wash, dress, eat and drink. They could also take on more maintenance of the home, freeing up those paid to care to spend more time doing it, the study suggests. And it also says NHS staff should be promised to a “right to retrain” if their jobs are redundant.