No, I don't expect the NHS to run on pen and paper. An iPad for a nurse to update a patients chart - if it improves efficiency/accuracy or whatever then great. An iPad for a doctor to view a CT scan wherever he is without having to go to a radiology department? Great... very unlikely, you'd have to rub Vaseline over a medical grade monitor to make it look like an iPad screen, but the concept is there.
The gripe is about who is getting the iPads; people that look after the business side of the NHS. They will most likely have a laptop, this is more than capable of doing anything an iPad can and more, this means that the iPad is surplus to requirements and this is why people are outraged. If someone can tell me what business function you can do on an iPad that you can't do on a laptop 'll be happy to hear it.
The iPhones? Fine. Email on the move is becoming more and more essential and whilst there are cheaper phones that do the same thing for the level you are looking at not much cheaper.
NHS spending can be ridiculous. I work for a company that provides X-ray and CT equipment. A certain NHS trust purchased one of our top of the range machines which included a 30k add on.
When I returned to this place some time later I noticed that the add on we put on was performing wildly out of its ranges. I asked why they hadn't reported this problem, the response was "We don't use it, we do not have anyone here qualified to read those types of x-rays and never have" So I of course asked, "Why was it purchased then?" "Because the boss liked the look of it in the catalogue"
At this point I said my goodbyes before I said something that got me in trouble.