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NHS IT Doctor buy-in doubts

Tony Collins
Former health minister Lord Hunt and an NHS trust chief executive have separately expressed concerns about gaining buy-in from doctors over the £2.3bn, three-year NHS IT programme.

Until he resigned from government over its policy on Iraq, Hunt was in charge of the national IT programme. In Health Service Journal he described his regrets at not seeing the IT revolution through. "My greatest fear is that we will not get doctors on board," he said.

Hunt's opinion reflects a growing concern in the NHS that clinicians will not change their working practices despite using new national and regional systems.

Frank Burns, chief executive at Wirral Hospital NHS Trust, one of the most technologically advanced in the UK, is reported in E-Health Insider as supporting the national IT programme. But Burns, who ran IT in the NHS in the 1990s, said, "I am not sure that getting high levels of local ownership is possible with procurement decisions that cover half the country."

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