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Hospital Healthcare Europe

All PACS-out


25 May, 2007  

All hospitals in England will receive new picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) by 2008, the Department of Health has announced.

The announcement, on 21 May, kicked off a week-long promotion campaign for technology in the NHS in which health ministers will be showcasing and promoting the benefits of using “cutting-edge technology” in trusts to improve patient safety. Health secretary Patricia Hewitt started the week by visiting the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London, to see the digital X-ray system in action (it has been in use since 2005).

The original target date for completion of the PACS roll-out was 2007. Though this has slipped a little, PACS is still seen as one of the major successes of the National Programme for IT.

Hewitt said: “The NHS leads the way in using digital X-rays, which are not yet being used by all leading healthcare providers. This new system is helping doctors do what they do best – treat patients faster and better – and will provide NHS users with a first-class 21st century service.” Hewitt added: “The digital image will follow the patient wherever they go and will be able to be recalled whenever and wherever they need to be accessed by a patient’s healthcare professional.