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Sunday 23rd October 2016

NPfIT needs more flexibility

4th March 2006

04032006_DoctorAtPC2.jpgThe case for introducing more flexibility into the National Programme for IT was set out this week by the chief executive of one of England’s largest NHS foundation trusts.

A leading Trust Chief Executive has called for more flexibility in implementing the National Programme for IT, saying that the need for a national approach was as great as ever but that solutions were needed sooner rather than later.

Sir Jonathan Michael, chief executive of the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, was speaking at a symposium organised by City University, City livery companies and the UK Health Informatics Society.

In particular, he claimed the current approach by Connecting for Health rendered existing investments redundant, assumed that one size fits all, designs out flexibility in solutions and relies on a small group of suppliers to develop software when the marketplace already had adequate solutions.

Sir Jonathan, who worked as a doctor before entering healthcare management, made his case by taking the example of cancer services and comparing his trust’s needs with IT developments on offer. There were significant differences with the analysis exposing gaps in solutions to meet those needs or their timely availability.

He said the focus was on ‘point to centre’, rather than ‘point to point’ communications; tailored access was being provided by local solutions and support for care across pathways would not be available until some time after the 18 week wait target for treatment becomes mandatory. Specialist decision support was not scheduled for cancer until after 2010, though an exception might be made for chemotherapy. He said the trust needed: flexible communication links; tailored access (booking and referral facilities for a range of care and treatment); functionality to support care across sites and specialties; clinical and non-clinical risk management and functionality to run the business side of care.

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