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Views And Reviews

David Oliver: Will robotic automation solve social care?

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4854 (Published 21 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4854
  1. David Oliver, consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine
  1. Berkshire
  1. davidoliver372{at}googlemail.com
    Follow David on Twitter: @mancunianmedic

Ara Darzi, surgeon and former health minister, has this year called for “full automation” of “repetitive tasks” in health and care services.

In June the magazine National Health Executive quoted Darzi as saying that the NHS could free up £12.5bn worth of staff time by investing in a “far reaching programme of automation.”1 What further piqued my interest was the reported claim that a “further £6bn productivity gain” could be achieved in social care through automation.

Where had Darzi’s quoted figures come from? The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)—which describes itself as “the UK’s leading progressive think tank”—published media releases about its report Better Health and Care for All: A 10 point plan for the 2020s, …

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