Health Committee inquiry into the NHS IT programme - details announced

The Health Committee of the House of Commons has announced details of its inquiry into the NHS’s National Programme for IT [NPfIT]. The inquiry is the result of a campaign by 23 academics, Computer Weekly and by certain members of the committee – here.

Not all members of the committee are fiery supporters of the inquiry. The chairman Kevin Barron, for example, seems not to have thrown up his hands with glee at the idea of an inquiry, and the terms of reference are carefully worded. There is no mention of the question: will it work?


The inquiry’s title is:

“The Electronic Patient Record and its use.”

The Committee says it has “decided to undertake an inquiry into the development of the electronic patient record.”

The inquiry will focus on the following areas:

• What patient information will be held on the new local and national electronic record systems, including whether patients may prevent their personal data being placed on systems;

• Who will have access to locally and nationally held information and under what circumstances;

• Whether patient confidentiality can be adequately protected;

• How data held on the new systems can and should be used for purposes other than the delivery of care e.g. clinical research; and

• Current progress on the development of the NHS Care Records Service and the National Data Spine and why delivery of the new systems is up to 2 years behind schedule.

Organisations and individuals are invited to submit written evidence. The deadline is Friday 16 March 2007.

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