Informaticopia

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Doctors views of NHS IT programme

Yesterdays Guardian carried an article Doctors have little faith in new NHS £6bn computer system and editorial Doctors in deficit based on the results of a survey carried out by Medix-uk.com commissioned by E-Health Insider, bjhc&im, Computer Weekly, Financial Times, Guardian, GP and Hospital Doctor, and also reported by E-Health Insider.

A total of 1329 doctors‚– 604 GPs and 725 other doctors – answered the survey between mid-December and early January. The survey showed that only 1% of the doctors surveyed felt that the NHS agency Connecting for Health was making good progress with the National Programme for IT, with 68% saying ti was poor or unacceptable.

A major issue is about the way in which doctors have been informed and consulted about the programe with 56% saying they had received little or no information and 6% saying they had never heard of the programme. A range of concerns were raised by respondents, particularly related to Choose and Book and potential risks to patient confidentiality, and other security issues.

Connecting for Health has also issues a response to the survey which, which accepting some of the criticism implied in the survey results highlights the more positive aspects of the findings, and suggesting that this "dip in confidence" is normal in the early implementation phase of IT change programmes.

It will be interesting to see whether the information campaign which is due to get nderway early in 2006 (aimed at the public) will influence the views of doctors. It would also be useful to find out if anyone is going to fund a repeat survey along the same lines of nurses and other NHS staff (which form a much larger proportion of the workforce than doctors) would produce similar results.

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