BMA demands greater involvement in NHS IT programme

The British Medical Association has demanded greater involvement in the national programme for NHS IT, after raising concerns...

The British Medical Association has demanded greater involvement in the national programme for NHS IT, after raising concerns that the government has not adequately involved the clinicians that will be using the new systems.

The BMA said it is broadly supportive of the £6bn national programme, but said wider engagement is necessary to prevent potential problems.

“Doctors working at the coalface have not been adequately involved in the programme to improve the NHS IT infrastructure,” said Dr John Powell, chairman of the BMA's committee for IT.

“There is still time for the Department of Health to engage with the medical profession but it must be done now to avoid problems with the implementation of new systems."

Powell said the IT systems have “enormous potential” to bring great benefits to patient care but added that it is important that such a large programme of change is properly evaluated.

“Evaluation needs not only to demonstrate value for money for taxpayers, but also to offer clinicians improved usable systems,” he said.

A recent survey of doctors, conducted by market research firm Medix on behalf of the Department of Health, revealed that only 4% of respondents felt they had been adequately consulted on changes to IT systems.

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