Swindells: NPfIT needs to change

Matthew Swindells, the former interim NHS CIO who led a review of NHS Informatics, says that the NHS’s National Programme for IT [NPfIT] should cease being presented as “The Solution” for the health service.

He has also called for a plurality of IT suppliers rather than reliance on the two local service providers CSC and BT. He said that two closed local service provider systems were a hindrance to government policy; and added that delays in implementations “necessitate changes to allow local organisations to take medium-term investment decisions now which won’t be invalidated by NPfIT”.

He was being interviewed by Health Policy Insight. Swindells quit the NHS in 2008 to work at the Tribal consultancy where he is head of the health division.

He was asked: “What would make a real difference to getting delivery from NHS Connecting For Health?”

He replied:

In my opinion The National Programme for IT needs two things: a change of body language and a change of technology.

It needs to move away from presenting itself as THE SOLUTION which sweeps everything before it and to view itself as a tool for service improvement and a platform for innovation. I believe it has made big strides in this direction in the past year.

In technological terms, it needs to “open up”. The creation of a plural provider environment makes the two closed LSP systems a hindrance to government policy and the delays in implementation necessitate changes to allow local organisations to take medium-term investment decisions now which won’t be invalidated by NPfIT.

In technical terms, NPfIT needs to create interoperability between the two LSP systems so that they can live comfortably side-by-side (and as a by-product, create the standard that would allow other products to integrate as well), and it needs to describe clearly how local systems that meet the programmes data and security standards can be integrated with the local care record.”


Interview Matthew Swindells, MD Health, Tribal Group – Health Policy Insight

Swindells quits DH ahead of publication of his review – E-Health Insider

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