CSC president on NPfIT success and challenges

The head of CSC Europe Guy Hains has characterized the first few years of the NPfIT as an industrialization phase in which the NHS’s IT infrastructure has been upgraded and systems installed in a “breadth of communities”.

The next government will be in a position to “exploit” the technology installed so far under the NPfIT for the benefit of patients.

It’s unclear, though, whether the Conservatives if they win power will continue with the NPfIT in its current form.

Hains, who is president of CSC’s European Group, was speaking at the Conservative Technology Forum at Portcullis House, Westminster, on the future of the NPfIT

He called on politicians to change the name of the NPfIT. He said the programme is more about changing working processes than installing national systems.

CSC is one of the two main local service providers. It has NPfIT contracts worth around £3bn.  These are some of the points in Hains’s talk:

– He was associated with the NPfIT from day one, and was a sponsor of CSC’s joining the scheme.

– He had discussions with Richard Granger, the former head of NHS Connecting for Health, on the shape of the programme’s phases.

–  The first phase of the NPfIT was industrialisation. “We did due diligence but I have to say that in terms of the upgrade of the existing systems we had more work to do than we originally thought.”

– He characterized 2005 – 2007 as “bringing basic standards up”.

– The next phase 2007 to date has been about the “breadth across different communities that the national programme has touched”

– An incoming government will be involved in the “exploitation phase”

– The NPfIT sets “wholly new standards of data integrity and clinical safety”.

– Although the latest technology hasn’t always gone into hospitals, the systems deployed in ambulances, GP practices, prisons, and in child health have been “absolutely the latest technology”.

– Snomed is not used on the shop floor, in wards. “We manage that,” said Hains adding: “There is no question that that adds complexity to our programme. With hindsight wouldn’t it have been great if the NHS had moved to standardized coding for clinical processes earlier. It didn’t happen. That’s something we are managing. But I think as we get efficiency into the system and get more interoperability, then those standards will become yet more important”.

– “Biggest issue of all is clinical engagement”.

– In the past three weeks 35 NHS clinicians have flown to Chennai and spent three weeks with Lorenzo developers. “This is the first time we have achieved that.” In the past “we have got them to a requirements session at a hotel”.

– Patient choice should not be simply about choosing the hospital with the cheapest car parks. Information should be given to patients about the performance of hospitals, different types of care on offer, and the quality of the after-care.

– “The programme for an incoming government has reached an exciting stage. The hard work around industrialisation has been done.”  In terms of linking up key communities “we are there”.


NPfIT – the good and not so good – IT Projects

About CSC and NPfIT – CSC website

CSC and BT signed updated NPfIT contracts  

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Mr Hains seemed to have skated past most issues to do with this programme. Many bloggers have commented in detail and I won't bother to restate it all again other than to give a link to a blog which says more than most with a great deal of authority. It also makes the point time and again that no amount IT will fix the NHS. The NHS needs radical change, and until it is changed IT investments will be a waste of money.