Newsbeat

NHS: New health secretary Matt Hancock says use more apps

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Media captionUse more apps in the NHS, new health secretary says.

There needs to be more use of apps in the National Health Service, the new health secretary says.

Matt Hancock has told Newsbeat there is "loads to do on that area" when asked if they would help the NHS.

He was speaking as he gave more details of the government's plans to transform children and young people's mental health services.

The 39-year-old became the first MP to launch an app in his previous job as culture secretary.

"One of the things I've done in different parts of government is make sure that it's more tech savvy and digital," he told Newsbeat.

Image copyright Matt Hancock
Image caption Matt Hancock greets users on his app with a video message

"The NHS needs to be more convenient for you, but also to help clinicians so that doctors' and nurses' lives are easier.

The health secretary - who took over the job from Jeremy Hunt on 9 July - has used his own app to show picture galleries and videos of his activities both as a secretary of state and also as MP for West Suffolk.

It was criticised by some users who were worried their privacy was compromised after responding to an on-screen prompt asking for access to their photo library.

Who is Matt Hancock?

  • West Suffolk MP since 2010 and former Bank of England economist
  • Was a close ally and former chief of staff to then chancellor George Osborne
  • Supported Remain in the EU referendum
  • The 39-year-old father-of-three launched his own smartphone app after becoming culture secretary to better "connect" with his constituents

Mental health announcement

Matt Hancock also admitted that the government is "just getting going" on mental health treatment.

He was speaking as he announced that hundreds of new mental health workers will work in and near schools and colleges from next year.

Image copyright Reuters

The move is part of the government's plan to try to transform children and young people's mental health.

Seven higher education institutions in England will be offering courses from January to train people to help students with mental health issues.

The aim is they will be ready to go by the end of 2019.

But there's criticism of his comments about apps.

Labour says: "The Conservative government has made big cuts to some NHS budgets like capital funding, which has meant the NHS just hasn't been able to take advantage of new technologies."

"They need to fund the NHS properly so that NHS apps are safe and really accessible for everyone."

But Mr Hancock insists embracing new digital technology is important.

"I've actually just come out of a meeting on doing exactly that, it's a real passion of mine and I think there's a real opportunity."

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