IT managers' support for NPfIT falls

Staff are continuing to back the NHS's £12.4bn IT programme - but support for the scheme among the IT professionals who have to implement it has waned, a Mori survey has revealed.

Staff are continuing to back the NHS's £12.4bn IT programme - but support for the scheme among the IT professionals who have to implement it has waned, a Mori survey has revealed.

Connecting for Health, an agency of the Department of Health, has published on its website a summary of the latest survey on the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) by Ipsos Mori.

The summary lists the positive findings from the survey of NHS staff, including IT managers, administrators, doctors and nurses. But it makes no mention of Mori's negative findings. A spokesman for Connecting for Health defended the website summary as balanced, saying the full Mori report was available for download.

Telephone interviews with more than 1,000 NHS staff, including 158 IT managers, established that the NPfIT is regarded as an important initiative; and most indicated that it will improve clinical care.

But since Mori conducted a similar survey in 2005 there has been a big drop in the number of IT and other NHS managers who are favourable towards the NPfIT - even though IT managers are generally more supportive of the scheme than other groups of NHS staff.

Separately Mori reported a big jump in the number of IT managers who agree with the statement that "the programme will be too costly at the expense of medical care". In 2005, 52% of IT managers disagreed with the statement, and only 26% agreed. This year it was more even: 45% disagreed and 41% agreed.

Four years after the scheme was launched, 25% of doctors - the main users of the NPfIT systems - told Mori they had never heard of the programme.

Mori said two concerns have more resonance with staff today than in 2005: the cost of the programme and the skills needed to make it work.

Lack of staff knowledge and training is seen by every group as the main barrier to rolling out NPfIT effectively in the NHS.



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