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IT scale-back must not affect care, says BMA

8 December 2009

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The government should consider the role of the private sector, rather than IT systems, when deciding where to make cuts, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said in response to the announcement of plans to “pare back” the NHS IT programme in England.

Dr Grant Ingrams, Chairman of the BMA’s GP IT Committee, said: “While the National Programme for IT was characterised by poor value for money in its early stages, cutting back now is not as simple as it may seem, given that contracts are already in place.

“We await more details of how cost savings will be achieved, but what is crucial is that clinicians have the tools they need for the job.

“We welcome the commitment that the systems which clinicians find most useful will not be scrapped. Good IT is central to efficient, effective, safe patient care. Many of the errors that take place in the NHS could be prevented through improved information systems.”

Dr Ingrams (pictured) added: “Before making cuts that affect frontline care, politicians should be re-examining the role of the private sector in the NHS.

“The use of independent sector treatment centres and external management consultants should be questioned before we scale back on technology that allows clinicians to provide care safely.”


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“Micro-managing the day-to-day service. Why train professionals to do a job and then hover over them with clipboards endlessly counting and auditing? The phenomenal increase in so-called business management where it takes weeks to create business cases that satisfy process-driven committees, stifles innovation and blocks speedy progress, needs to be streamlined. Cut out significant levels of PCO checkers and reinvest in community clinicians to support patients at home” – Name and address withheld