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BMA calls for NHS IT improvement

22 May 2008

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NHS practice managers have to be kept up to date of IT developments in the wake of the National Audit Office (NAO) report on IT systems in the NHS, according to the British Medical Association.

The NAO report found that an unachievable timetable for electronic patient records had damaged confidence in the National Programme for IT.

The BMA has now called on the body behind the records system, NHS Connecting for Health, to move forward and learn from the problems.

“It is clear from the NAO report that the setting of unrealistic deadlines has been very damaging,” said Dr Chaand Nagpau, GP negotiator with responsibility for IT.

“Slipping deadlines for new IT systems and the premature release of systems that are not fit for purpose has been deeply frustrating for NHS staff, leaving many doctors thoroughly disillusioned with the programme.

“The major challenge for local health organisations will be to create an environment that fosters the commitment and confidence of staff,” he added. “This will only happen if the progress on the development of the programme becomes more transparent.

“Staff must be kept abreast of how new technology is going to impact on their hospital or practice. More work needs to be done on achieving this at a local level.”

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British Medical Association