Does the NHS lack IT skills?


The NHS lacks the necessary skills for the Government's proposed 'information revolution.'

So claims a report by IT industry body Intellect, which suggested in the wake of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) and its outsourcing of IT services, NHS trusts would not have sufficient IT experience on hand to make key decisions.

The report said: "Trust boards and management teams have on the whole not fully appreciated or understood the gains that can be achieved by appropriate deployment of ICT throughout their organisations."

The Government's proposals were outlined in 'Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution,' a consultation document published to follow up the Government White Paper 'Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS'.

The overall goal of the Government proposals is to better integrate IT into the NHS by creating standardised systems and allowing patients access to, and control of, their medical records online.

"Intellect recommends CIOs (chief information officers) of appropriate seniority and experience are included within executive management teams to make informatics more prominent within NHS organisations," the report added.

"ICT functions in the NHS need to mature and do so quickly if they are to deliver the Information Revolution and ensure transition take place smoothly."

The report went on: "We need to get to a point where the CIO function is best placed to lead transformation work, because they possess the end-to-end view of how an organisation works."

IT PRO talked to Intellect spokesman Jon Lindberg and asked why the NHS was seemingly lacking in IT expertise. Lindberg explained that because NPfIT was a "top-down management approach" it took care of IT business development, risk assessment and project management centrally.