Tens of thousands of NHS staff could be trained in the use of artificial intelligence and robotics, Jeremy Hunt has announced.
An independent review into the training needs of NHS staff will looks at how they can be trained to ensure that they are equipped to deliver the latest treatments.
The review will be led by Dr. Eric Topol, an expert in cardiology, genetics and digital medicine.
Topol will investigate opportunities where the NHS could invest in training for existing staff and consider the implications on the skills required of future healthcare professionals.
Topol has previously led a US research programme on the use of technology and data for more precise, tailored patient treatment and, for this review, will look at technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, genomics and digital medicine.
He will begin by visiting London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital to see its life-changing technology in action.
The hospital is currently researching how machine-learning technology could help to analyse eye scans, giving eye care professionals a better and faster understanding of eye disease.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, explained: “Every week we hear about exciting new developments surfacing in the NHS which could help provide answers to some of our greatest challenges such as cancer or chronic illness.
“These give us a glimpse of what the future of the whole NHS could be.”
He added: “I’m delighted that Dr Topol is kicking off this review – ensuring the NHS is at the forefront of life-saving, life-changing care across the globe for decades to come.”
Topol said: “While it’s hard to predict the future, we know artificial intelligence, digital medicine and genomics will have an enormous impact for improving the efficiency and precision in healthcare.”
The review will focus on the “extraordinary opportunities” to leverage these technologies for the workforce and to power a sustainable and vibrant NHS, he added.