The Tories are due today to publish the results of a review of the NPfIT, led by Dr Glyn Hayes, former chairman of the British Computer Society’s Health Informatics Forum.
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Dr Hayes, chairman of the review, told the BBC:
“The review [of the NHS IT scheme] makes clear that NHS IT will only succeed in improving patient care if information is held locally and centred on the patient.
“I hope this report helps redeem the national programme for IT from its current difficulties and transforms it for the benefit of patients and doctors alike.”
The Hayes review does not seek the abandonment of the NPfIT. It is reported that the Tories have promised to halt and renogotiate Local Services Providers (LSPs) contracts, dismantle the IT central infrastructure and allow health trusts to make their own decisions, be that to continue with legacy systems or choose their own suppliers.
The Department of Health has already dismissed the review.
A Department of Health spokesman told the BBC that the Tory-commissioned report highlighted nothing new.
He said: “Patients are now directly benefiting from the modernisation of NHS IT – including being able to make their first outpatient appointment through Choose and Book, new digital images and a new electronic prescriptions service.”
And he added that the programme was already being delivered locally.
“For example, detailed care records will continue to be held locally in an electronic form, enabling hospitals and GPs to easily access information in order to the deliver the best service for patients.”
The government has made it clear to the companies contracted to deliver the upgrades that it expects further significant progress by the end of November, he said.
NHS Connecting for Health – now being absorbed into the Department of Health – still has the bunker mentality which David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, criticised in January 2007. Nicholson is the overall senior responsible owner for the NPfIT. He said in January 2007 that the national programme reacted defensively to any criticism of the NPfIT.
If dismissing the Tory plans for the NPfIT before the report has been published isn’t defensive, what is? Plus ca change.
Tory NHS IT policy – various versions of BBC reports on News Sniffer
NPfIT – the good and not-so-good – IT Projects blog
Conservatives to dismantle NHS IT – E-Health Insider
Don’t scrap NHS IT Project – IT Projects blog
Dispelling NPfIT blues – Ardentia
Guardian newspaper’s PR for Labour’s IT failure – Cassandra’s Guided Insights