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A Techie in Number 10?

One of the favourites to be the next Prime Minister is tech enthusiast Matt Hancock. The MP for West Suffolk is the current health secretary and beforehand served in the equivalent role at Digital, Sport, Media and Culture. In both roles he has expressed a desire for the government to make more use out of technological developments.

In various speeches, Mr Hancock has called for ‘a culture of innovation’. Whilst working as the digital secretary, he oversaw the creation of the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) which houses over seventy cyber security companies and focusses on ‘developing the cyber security technology of tomorrow’. In a speech at Tech Nation in 2018, Mr Hancock championed crowdfunding methods saying that the UK had ‘real strength’ in that area and his passion for technology continued when he moved into the role as health secretary.

Mr Hancock has announced that the use of pagers will be banned in the NHS, quite a big step when you consider 2017 research indicted that the NHS owned 10% of the world’s pagers. As an alternative, a ‘WhatsApp’ style communication method was piloted in an NHS trust in Mr Hancock’s own constituency. It’s not only pagers that are getting the chop, Mr Hancock has banned the NHS from purchasing fax machines with a view of phasing out the technology by April 2020 and making email the norm going forward.

The would-be leader has also formed the Healthtech Advisory Board where key NHS figures and tech industry stalwarts meet to help with creating policies with technological advancement in mind. Mr Hancock is already an influential figure, but should he get the top job, his enthusiasm for technology will influence more than just the NHS and influence every government department.