Initiative aims to plug NHS IT skills gap

An organisation that aims to raise the profile of Health Informatics in the UK and help plug the Health Service’s technology...

An organisation which aims to raise the profile of health informatics in the UK and help plug the Health Service’s technology skills gap was launched at this week's Healthcare Computing 2003 event in Harrogate.

Jointly sponsored by a wide range of organisations, including the British Computer Society and the NHS Information Authority, the UK Council of Health Informatics Professions (UKCHIP) aims to build a professional standards body at a time when the government is embarking on the largest IT project seen in the UK.

"We are about to spend £2.3bn on IT hardware in England and there are not enough people to implement it," said Dr Glyn Hayes, chairman of the BCS Health Informatics Committee.

The practice of health informatics covers the collection, storage, processing and transfer of information to support healthcare.  "The aim of this body is to establish a profession for the longer-term benefit of healthcare," said Hayes. "We have to get more, better qualified health informatics people in place."

UKCHIP will publish a set of draft standards for consultation later this year.

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