IT professionals in the NHS are demoralised and undervalued, according to new research from their representative body.
Despite the government investing more in NHS IT than ever before, few IT professionals in the service feel they have benefited from the investment, says Assist, which represents NHS professionals in health informatics, including IT staff.
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Its research found that vacancy rates range from 12% for information managers to 4% for senior managers and clinical informatics staff. Staff retention is being affected by low morale - informatics staff feel embattled, overworked and undervalued.
Andrew Haw, chairman of Assist, said, “With tough competition for informatics specialists from all sectors of the economy, the Assist survey highlights the need for urgent action across the NHS on health informatics workforce planning, recruitment and retention, and the establishment of health informatics as a formal profession.”
The research, involving 11 NHS organisations, found the application of Agenda for Change, the new NHS pay scale, had been inconsistent. Assist said there was a case for a recruitment and retention prima.
In 2004, Computer Weekly highlighted concern over Agenda for Change among NHS IT staff at a time when there was a boom in private sector contracting spending.
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