Lord Ravensdale debates with Department of Health and Social Care

There have been 2 exchanges between Lord Ravensdale and Department of Health and Social Care

Tue 21st April 2020 Covid-19: Removal of Restrictions (Lords Chamber) 3 interactions (72 words)
Mon 15th July 2019 NHS: Automation (Lords Chamber) 3 interactions (81 words)

Covid-19: Removal of Restrictions

Lord Ravensdale Excerpts
Tuesday 21st April 2020

(9 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department of Health and Social Care
Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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The noble Baroness is entirely right that the use of PPE—certainly in the workplace and, more commonly, in other parts of our life—is likely to be part of our lives in the forthcoming period. However, to date, the British Government have been sceptical about the efficacy of face masks. We do not want to be in a position of misleading or providing false reassurance for the public when there is not sufficient scientific evidence for the relevance of face masks. However, should that evidence emerge and should the guidance change, we will of course follow the science and make the recommendation if it is helpful.

Lord Ravensdale Portrait Lord Ravensdale (CB)
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My Lords, in response to the question from the noble Lord, Lord Patel, the Minister talked about the limitations of antibody testing. Antibody testing can provide crucial information on the penetration of the disease within the population, its lethality and how widespread asymptomatic cases are, complementing work being done in a number of other countries. Can the Minister provide an update on what is being done in the UK on antibody testing?

Lord Bethell Portrait Lord Bethell
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Forgive me, my Lords, the beeping of my computer distracted me during my answer to the previous question. I did not want to give the impression that I was sceptical of the use of serology tests; far from it. We are investing a huge amount in research into serology tests of various kinds, both lateral flow and ELISA tests. We have been in touch with more than 180 providers of these tests. The Government recently backed a British-based consortium developing a British lateral flow test of which we have very high hopes and expectations, with a view to potentially doing a large amount of mass testing in the months to come. As the noble Lord rightly implied, you need a level of antibody prevalence for the testing to be accurate and useful. This type of test will be important to us further down the road and I will update noble Lords on the progress of our research as it develops.

NHS: Automation

Lord Ravensdale Excerpts
Monday 15th July 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber

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Department of Health and Social Care
Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Portrait Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford
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My noble friend is right. One of the key recommendations is that by automating routine analyses such as radiology, diagnoses and pathology and routinely bringing in AI to sequence bed management, we will reduce the burden on clinicians so that they are able to see more patients. The review makes specific recommendations to help the workforce become more digital ready, which means increasing capacity and capability, and building the right environment. That is exactly what we have embedded into the NHS people plan and all that we are working on through NHSX.

Lord Ravensdale Portrait Lord Ravensdale (CB)
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My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. Robotic process automation—RPA—is an emerging software technology that can undertake repetitive tasks in place of human workers. Many industries are seeing the benefits of using this technology and thus releasing people to do more value-added work. I believe that it has been used in a small number of NHS trusts. Can the Minister say whether there are any plans to deploy this technology more widely across the health service?

Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford Portrait Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford
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The noble Lord is right to say that technologies such as this offer the most potential to reduce repetitive work and transform how our healthcare is delivered. This is what we are focusing on to ensure that we can give health and care staff the ability to spend more time delivering personalised care in medicine while also ensuring that we improve systems to make them more efficient and productive.