Recently in Health Committee Category

Homerton rejects FOI NPfIT request

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Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is important to the public image of the NPfIT. It's arguably as important to PR on the NHS IT scheme as Alastair Campbell was to Tony Blair's administration.

MPs on the Health Committee visited Homerton during their inquiry into the NPfIT electronic record systems. Connecting for Health has many times invited TV and radio journalists to see Homerton's Cerner Millennium systems. Computer Weekly has had an invitation too.

Numerous articles on the NPfIT, and several TV documentaries, have cited Homerton when countering criticisms.

Ben Bradshaw, former NPfIT minister, mentioned Homerton as being satisfied with the system when he answered a Parliamentary question on the progress of the Cerner foll-out on 23 July 2007.  

New Labour's unlucky 13 IT projects

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Now the Labour Party's conference, which was held in Manchester, is finished, I've looked at the lessons and what went wrong on 13 large, government IT-based projects and programmes:

The analysis is tied in with an analysis and comment, to be published in Computer Weekly this week, on Labour's track record on managing big IT-based projects and programmes. 

 

E-records without a central database?

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The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is considering an interesting product, dbMotion, which allows doctors and nurses to see a patient's medical history even when parts of it are in many different legacy systems, without establishing a central database.

Pioneering London hospital hit by crashes and delays

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Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, whose staff treat 500,000 patients a year from around the world, has run into "significant" problems including system crashes, delays booking patient appointments and data missing in records. 

The difficulties raise questions about whether the trust's board, under central pressure, went live too soon with Release 1 of the Cerner Millennium Care Records Service. The trust had already postponed go-live at least twice. It finally went live in June.

The Royal Free's board was told last week: "Some individual clinics have genuinely struggled to manage the implementation of Cerner. In the main these clinics tend to be those with the largest volume of patients."

Comments of Health Committee MPs on NPfIT Summary Care Record

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As there are two new blog entries on the summary care record - part of the NHS's National Programme for IT - I've provided (below) further context by publishing the findings of MPs on the Labour-dominated Health Committee.

Health Committee makes potent case for review of entire NHS IT Programme

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Comment and summary of highlights of a report on the Electronic Patient Record by the Health Committee of the House of Commons

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As predicted, the Labour-dominated Health Committee of the House of Commons has avoided calling for an independent review of the NHS's National Programme for IT [NPfIT] but its report makes a series of compelling arguments for one.

Health Committee MP criticises report on NPfIT electronic patient record

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Below is an article posted today on Computer Weekly's website about an MP's criticism of a "weak" report by the Health Committee on the electronic patient record, which is part of the NHS's National Programme for IT. A blog comment on the committee's report will be posted later.

Big IT based projects: benefits of an independent review over an internal one

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This is one of a series on this blog of some of more memorable comments made by witnesses and MPs at an inquiry into the National Programme for IT [NPfIT] by the Health Committee of the House of Commons.

The witnesses at the first hearing on 26 April 2007 were:

- Richard Granger, Director General of IT for the NHS and head of the NPfIT
- Harry Cayton, National Director for Patients and the Public, Department of Health
- Dr Gillian Braunold, a GP and National Clinical Lead for GPs, Connecting for Health.
- Martyn Thomas, visiting Professor of Software Engineering, University of Oxford,
- Dr Paul Cundy, Chair, General Practitioners' Joint IT Committee
- Andrew Hawker, NHS Patient

A list of who is on the committee is at the end of this article.

At the Health Committee hearing the chairman Kevin Barron asked Martyn Thomas why he was calling for an independent review of the NPfIT. Barron's view appeared to be that the facts independent reviewers would discover would already be known to the project team. So why have an independent review? In reply Thomas gave a sound summary of the benefits of an independent review over one commissioned internally.

Barron asked: "Do you think that people who are involved in the National IT Programme at the moment are aware and conscious of those facts, whether reviews have been published or not in terms of that? Do you think they are not capable of knowing that as something in their daily business, as it were? The programme is not without its problems. Are these people who are developing it not capable of being able to do that?"

Thomas replied: "I have reviewed a lot of large technical programmes over the years, and I want to stress, I am not asking to review this one personally, I am not for a second bidding for that job, but my experience of carrying out those reviews is that people get blinded by the fact that they are too close to the project and they get compromised by the fact that they cannot stand back and admit errors.

This is one of a series on this blog of some of more memorable comments made by witnesses and MPs at an inquiry into the National Programme for IT [NPfIT] by the Health Committee of the House of Commons.

The witnesses at the first hearing on 26 April 2007 were:

- Richard Granger, Director General of IT for the NHS and head of the NPfIT
- Harry Cayton, National Director for Patients and the Public, Department of Health
- Dr Gillian Braunold, a GP and National Clinical Lead for GPs, Connecting for Health.
- Martyn Thomas, visiting Professor of Software Engineering, University of Oxford,
- Dr Paul Cundy, Chair, General Practitioners' Joint IT Committee
- Andrew Hawker, NHS Patient

A list of who is on the committee is at the end of this article.

At the first Health Committee hearing MP Jim Dowd asked Richard Granger: "When you say it [the NPfIT] has got more functionality than originally envisaged, is that because the original estimates were just wrong?"

Richard Granger replied: "I do not know of a large-scale IT enabled transformation programme in a complex organisation that from its starting point to its mid point has a direct correlation.

"I think it would be a fantasy to imagine. I know people write fantasies, but in the real world it would be ridiculous to imagine that halfway through a ten-year programme you would only be doing the same things as you set out five years ago.

This is one of a series on this blog of some of more memorable comments made by witnesses and MPs at an inquiry into the National Programme for IT [NPfIT] by the Health Committee of the House of Commons.

The witnesses at the first hearing on 26 April 2007 were:

- Richard Granger, Director General of IT for the NHS and head of the NPfIT
- Harry Cayton, National Director for Patients and the Public, Department of Health
- Dr Gillian Braunold, a GP and National Clinical Lead for GPs, Connecting for Health.
- Martyn Thomas, visiting Professor of Software Engineering, University of Oxford,
- Dr Paul Cundy, Chair, General Practitioners' Joint IT Committee
- Andrew Hawker, NHS Patient

A list of who is on the committee is at the end of this article.

At the Health Committee hearing Martyn Thomas said:

"It seems to me that there are two issues that are being run together here. The overall objectives of the system seem to be trying to tackle two problems in parallel and those two issues are perhaps in conflict.

"On the one hand, there is the question of putting in good IT to support the clinicians supporting the patients, and I think everybody in the NHS is entirely behind that. Where IT can improve healthcare, it is sensible to deploy it once you are in a position to be able to be able to roll it out without disturbing things too much.

There is also the issue of transforming the way that the Health Service operates and the way that the Health Service is managed and the need for information to be available in order to be able to change the management structures.

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