Cancel the NPfIT says motion to annual BMA conference

The British Medical Association’s Annual Representative Meeting, which starts today in Brighton, will hear a motion from the Northern Ireland Council which says:

“This Meeting believes that there has been little demonstrable benefit to the National Programme for IT for the NHS with an unacceptably high cost to benefit ratio and poor value and therefore, in the current time of financial constraint in the NHS, demands that the government cancel the National Programme for IT and divert the monies into frontline direct patient care.”

It’s also likely that the BMA ARM will hear a call for it to abandon its acceptance of the “opt-out” model for the summary care record scheme.

This is the motion [Supplementary agenda: To follow item 274 – Motion 501 from the Annual Conference of representatives of Local Medical Committees]

“This Meeting deplores the accelerated roll-out of the SCR and:

(i) believes that patients who wish their Summary Care Record to be uploaded centrally should be asked to give explicit consent to this;

(ii) demands that general practitioners are appropriately funded to undertake the work generated in their practices by the Summary Care Record programme;

(iii) considers that the BMA should formally and publicly abandon its acceptance of an ‘opt-out’ system;

(iv) asks the BMA to explore the withdrawal of all co-operation with a system based on implied consent.


The BMA deplores a lot of things, which perhaps it should. It’s largely what its Annual Representative Meeting exists to do. Honest and even active dissent is better than cavilling acquiescence.

The word “deplore” appears so often in the list of motions to the BMA Annual Representative Meeting that its meaning is robbed of force.  
That said, the BMA acts on motions that are passed, and they inform the discussions that are held regularly between the Association and senior officials who include health CIO Christine Connelly.   

Last year’s BMA ARM passed these resolutions:

“That this Meeting:

(i) condemns the continued waste of money on the National Programme for IT which remains unfit for purpose in most applications; and

(ii) believes that Connecting for Health (CfH) should now concentrate on developing specialty
professional standard clinical datasets that are fit for purpose to support professional clinical quality metrics, audit, research, revalidation, patient care and outcomes;

(iii) believes that CfH should now release funds for locality clinical system purchase;

(iv) demands an independent clinically led review of the whole CfH programme;

(v) instructs the BMA to campaign for local IT solutions which can be implemented in a timely manner and integrated across the primary-secondary care interface.

In response the BMA says:

(i) and (ii) Discussions have taken place with NHS Connecting for Health and the Royal College of Physicians with regards to clinical dataset work and we have agreed to support developments by seeking views from CCSC specialists committees and using BMA communication mechanisms to seek clinical input from our members.

(iii) [It is] important that GPSOC continues and this is being taken forward. In secondary care we will take this forward as part of the independent review. Developments are moving towards this particularly in the South with the Additional Supply Capability and Capacity Framework, which we have supported. We have also supported the Conservative party review, which pledges this and due to meet Stephen O’Brien MP [former Shadow Health minister] to further this.

(iv) We have agreement from Christine Connelly for an independent clinically led review of the next implementation of Cerner Millennium – this will start imminently.

Update 1/7/10

An E-Health Insider article says that the Annual Representative Meeting has not supported a motion to withdraw co-operation from the Summary Care Record programme, or the motion to seek the cancellation of the NPfIT.


Live coverage of BMA ARM – BMA website

BMA and CfH argue it out over summary care records – IT Projects Blog