NHS wastes £86 million a year on useless websites

Leaked documents have revealed that the UK's National Health Service wastes £86 million a year on thousands of useless websites.

According to a report on public sector news website Public Technology, a leaked version of the NHS Digital Communications Review concludes that "vulnerable members of the public are often not being properly catered for".

Around one-third of the NHS's 4,121 websites were found to suffer from at least one "notable deficit" in standards. Around 1,000 were not even accessible.

Local family doctors' websites were among the worst culprits, with nearly 60 per cent of the 671 working websites set up by GPs being found to have problems.

The study, which was compiled by communications agency Precedent, highlights a lack of central guidance over website creation and content.

"The NHS has little in the way of central mechanisms to track the costs and usage of all NHS websites," the study noted.

Damningly, the report reveals that many patients struggled to locate NHS resources even via a Google search.

Responding to the findings, a Department of Health statement said: "We know that information is the key to patient choice and control as well as better outcomes for patients.

"The government intends to bring about an NHS information revolution to give people access to comprehensive, trustworthy and easy to understand information from a range of sources on conditions, treatments, lifestyle choices and how to look after their own and their family's health."

A new NHS information strategy is promised in the autumn.

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