Patient Liasion Group

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Symposium: 'What does the digitalisation of the NHS mean for patients?'

Patient Liaison Group 2017

On Wednesday 26 September 2018, the BMA patient liaison group held a symposium to discuss how the digitalisation of the NHS will impact patients in the UK. It was attended by 55 delegates representing patient lay groups, medical royal colleges, charities and BMA committees.


Topics covered

The event was opened by Amanda Cool, patient liaison group chair, who stressed how the digitalisation of the NHS was a key issue which would continue to have a profound impact on patients. The BMA places significant value on the work of the patient liaison group in informing its work and monitoring the digitalisation of the NHS is a key policy area for both the patient liaison group and the BMA. 

The symposium comprised a combination of presentations and table discussions on subjects such as empowering patients digitally, the positive impacts of technology and innovation on patients, widening participation, supporting the clinician and the use of patient data.



  • Amanda Cool, BMA patient liaison group chair
  • Polly Bishop, Head of Digital Strategy and Engagement, NHS England
  • Dr Manpreet Pujara, Director for Quality and Safety, NHS Digital
  • Adi Latif, Accessibility and Usability Consultant, Abilitynet
  • Dr Farah Jameel, IT Information and Governance Executive Lead, BMA general practitioners committee
  • Peter Nuckley, Delivery Manager, Widening Digital Participation Project, Good Things Foundation
  • Dr Paul Cundy, Information Management, Technology and Information Governance Lead, BMA general practitioners committee
  • Dr Amitava Banerjee, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Clinical, Data Science and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University College London


Recommendations made by delegates at the event

  1. Organisations responsible for the digitalisation of the NHS must adhere to a policy which combats exclusion of certain groups of patients, leaving no one behind

  2. Community IT hubs should be available to patients and the public across the UK for education on accessing digital NHS services and how to protect their personal information

  3. All NHS-approved apps should be designed to support patient need, the patient/clinician relationship and be certified by an independent organisation

  4. Developers of online services must create multiple solutions for different cohorts of patients and solutions must be developed in collaboration with these patients

  5. Patients have the right to be digitally excluded, therefore a range of options must be available to the patient, including face to face appointments

  6. NHS organisations to produce an educational programme for the public on digitalisation, which could include creating posts for pupils in schools to become digital health ambassadors

  7. NHS England to do more to provide and signpost patients to correct areas of information and also signpost to other organisations who could provide useful related information, such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau

  8. Meaningful partnerships must be built between different stakeholder organisations to minimise disruption caused to those excluded and improve access

  9. Responsible organisation to be appointed to lead on improved access to patients

Download the full report and agenda