The UK government is set to inject around £250m over the next year to digitise the diagnostics across the National Health Service (NHS) using advanced technology.

The funding will enable hospital labs to rapidly share patient results, tests and scans more between different hospitals and doctors, to facilitate early diagnosis of a health condition.

Also, it will reduce patients’ waiting lists for diagnostic tests and treatment, in addition to reducing the burden on NHS staff to help them analyse more tests, checks and scans.

NHS medical director Stephen Powis said: “The NHS is facing a winter like no other with rising cases of COVID and flu as well as record demand for emergency services, all while we continue to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in health service history, including rolling out booster jabs for the most vulnerable.

“However, NHS staff are making efficient use of additional funding and following the recent rollout of new diagnostic centres, the number of patients waiting for a diagnostic test is falling for the first time in a year, meaning more people are getting the checks they need and if required, are able to begin treatment sooner.”

The investment will help digitise diagnostics services across the NHS to advance the sharing of patients’ test results, and images across hospitals, labs and GP surgeries

NHS said that the new technology will enable the nurses, doctors and other clinicians to access the patient results, even while they work from different settings.

It enables imaging specialists, and experts analysing scans or x-rays to review high-resolution images round the clock, regardless of being in an imaging lab.

Also, the funding will provide a new tool to help GPs and other clinicians to select appropriate scans for the patient based on their symptoms and medical history.

The UK government’s decision follows a recommendation from professor Sir Mike Richards’ independent review of NHS diagnostics capacity, for improved digitisation.

UK Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today’s multi-million-pound investment will play a big role in levelling up diagnostics services across the country so patients can get faster results and healthcare professionals can get their job done more easily, reducing unnecessary administrative burden and making every taxpayer’s pound count.

“Getting a faster diagnosis for a health condition is the first step to getting more people the treatment they need and earlier on, and our funding will help ensure our NHS has access to the latest digital technology to drive up efficiency.”

The announcement follows the £2.3bn investment over the next three years to transform diagnostic services with at least 100 community diagnostic centres across England.