Nobody owns the big picture around NHS information says official

“There is a lot of information where there might be little expenditure, but very little information where there is a lot of expenditure”

This is quote attributed by the Health Service Journal to Tom Denwood’s team. Denwood has been appointed Programme Director for the National Programme Office at NHS Connecting for Health.

Denwood has previously led Choose and Book, part of the NHS’s £12.4bn National Programme for IT [NpfIT]. More recently he has been Programme Manager of the Informatics Review, reporting to Matthew Swindells. He continues to work on the review, the results of which are expected to be published in the spring.

The Health Service Journal says:

“He [Denwood] told a conference of NHS information professionals that his team had found that there “doesn’t appear to be one person or one bit of the organisation who owns the big picture around information”.

“There is no one taking a strategic view over healthcare, social care and mental health,” he said.

“Mr Denwood said NHS IT leads had said “there is a complete absence of a function that translates policy into business requirements”, and there was no overarching responsibility for IT within the Department of Health. This was illustrated in continual shifting of responsibility for the NHS IT strategy around the department …

“Potentially there is a lot of information where there might be little expenditure, but very little information where there is a lot of expenditure,” he said.


Health Service Journal article – requires registration

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I'm sure Tom Denwood's impression is correct. But as insights go it's not very profound. There used to be a bit of the organisation that owned the the big picture around information and tried (with limited success) to align IT strategy with policy. It was called the Information Policy Unit, and it was rapidly disbanded at the beginning of the NPfIT.

I believe the new Conservative Government will be selling/ privatising the "Department of Health" during this term of governance so there will be an owner of "the big picture around NHS information". THe US are moving forward and creating a health Service and the UK are moving backwards. Sad really...