Does the NHS lack IT skills?

"This shift means that there is likely to be a shortage of skills and capability at a local level within the NHS to successfully procure, manage and implement ICT solutions."

When asked what sort of skills the organisation felt were absent from NHS Trusts, Lindberg said: "Skills that Trusts may need to build and develop include: commercial awareness, business awareness of wider organisational objectives and functions, staff development and training, benchmarking and evaluation of outcomes and effectiveness of ICT solutions."

"Of course there are Trusts that have made sufficient investment in their ICT functions and developed their staff to perform at a very high level, but there are many that have fallen behind," he added.

In an article on e-Health Insider it was claimed Intellect's report "contends that the current percentage spent on information solutions does not reflect the value of information to the care process."

When asked to comment on this, Lindberg said: "There are many different systems within the NHS but at the moment these are not joined-up and therefore cannot be fully utilised to take best advantage of the information the NHS holds."

"The value of the information the NHS holds would be much better utilised if there were investment to join systems up and facilitate sharing, particularly bearing in mind that the NHS currently spends around two per cent of its budget on ICT so not much more investment is needed."

He added: "Indeed the NHS should look to re-use and share services wherever possible as long as this enables better and more efficient information sharing."

IT PRO asked if Intellect thought part of the problem was there were not enough qualified IT professionals working in the NHS outside of outsourced contracting.

"Part of the problem yes, but also that as the restructuring of the NHS takes place we need to be careful not to lose highly trained staff and the tacit knowledge of those professionals, including those from Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts," concluded Lindberg.