MPs’ health committee confirms terms of NHS IT inquiry

The House of Commons Health Committee has published its terms of reference for an inquiry it will hold into facets of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The House of Commons Health Committee has published its terms of reference for an inquiry it will hold into facets of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

The committee decided to undertake an inquiry last November, following a campaign led by leading academics, Computer Weekly and MPs.

This week, the committee said the inquiry will focus on 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 two years behind schedule.
 
The care records service and data spine are cornerstones of the NPfIT, a £12.4bn project to refresh NHS IT systems and create 50 million electronic patient records.

The parliamentary committee will also examine:

  • 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 - eg clinical research.

In May 2006, 23 academics wrote an open letter to the committee, calling on its members to ask the government to commission an independent audit into the national programme, voicing concerns over its technical feasibility and engagement with clinicians.

They also published a dossier of their concerns over the programme last week.

New inquiry - The Electronic Patient Record and its use

MPs will hold inquiry into £12bn NHS IT plan

Read Tony Collins' IT projects blog

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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