The long-awaited NHS information strategy has been taken out the Department of Health’s informatics directorate, and is instead being led by the team responsible for the quality, innovation, productivity and prevention programme.
Archive for September, 2011
The government’s apparent ending of the NHS IT programme leaves NHS CfH and
its BT and CSC contracts unaffected
The Department of Health is to work with Intellect to
stimulate the market for NHS IT,
The changes made to the health bill following the Government’s
listening exercise mean the reforms will save £2bn less than originally
predicted, a new impact assessment reveals.
The Major Projects Authority has urged the Department of Health to persist, at least for a while, with two key features of the National Programme for IT
Yesterday the Daily Mail ‘exclusively’ splashed the headline ‘£12 billion NHS computer system scrapped’ across its front page.
Having gasped at the check-out and nearly dropping my pint of milk after seeing the headline, the lady at the check-out in Sainsburys must have been concerned at my look of shock. Could the programme really have finally been completely abandoned? Have the contract negotiations with local service provider, CSC, really failed?
It turns out, probably not. Despite almost every national newspaper and health and IT business to business publication picking up on the lead, it turns out that there is really very little that is ‘new.’
Yes, the Major Projects Review of NPfIT has been completed and NHS chief executive, Sir David Nicholson, has written to the NHS regarding the ‘renewed steps’ that the DH is taking to move from a top down centralised system to greater local decision making. But the letter doesn’t actually tell us anything new about how it will be done.
In fact the letter gives little more information than we all knew back in September 2010, when virtually identical ‘Government scraps £12 billion NHS National Programme for IT’ titles hit the headlines of those same newspapers.
Even many of the statements that have been given by Francis Maude, who led the review and the DH, are the same with the exact key words popping up ‘scrapped’ ‘dismantle’ ‘local control’ ‘local decision making’ ‘move away from a top down approach’ and ‘greater choice’
Regardless of all this noise, the press release from the DH sums up the multi-billion dollar question: “We will continue to work with our existing suppliers to determine the best way to deliver the services upon which the NHS depends in a way which allows the local NHS to exercise choice while delivering best value for money.”
So is there anything new at all? Well, despite there clearly being a few rumbles of discontent from high up within the programme, it doesn’t look like the final nail has been put in the NPfIT coffin just yet. The LSP contract negotiations are clearly still ongoing and a subsequent informatics review is yet to follow in the autumn.
However, it does more than hint that there is the likelihood of much more business about to come around for many suppliers previously shut out of the NHS by NPfIT. Those suppliers should already be gearing up to get their message across to potential clients that they are ready and willing to take on the challenge.
Marketing Manager at One Health Alliance
Communications and Digital Media Consultant at Highland Marketing
Last month it was Smart Healthcare, before that it was HC2011 but this month it’s been the NHS Confederation’s time in the conference spotlight
Although I didn’t make it over to NHS Confed this year, I’ve heard many reports that health IT suppliers dominated what is traditionally an event focused on management, policy and politics.
But with the IT suppliers apparently trying to target a different audience, it begs the question of whether they see value in exhibiting at the increasing amount of national or international healthcare IT specific events. Especially as technology, including digital telecommunications is liberating the business processes in healthcare, expanding the possibilities for collaboration across the healthcare enterprise, and accelerating the pace of change in virtually every field.
The organisers of such events clearly think that there is a strong market and with changes to the NHS coupled with the government’s drive for greater use of IT and innovation within healthcare, it’s no wonder why the amount of such events have at least doubled.
But the race is on for at least two organisations to convince suppliers and NHS Delegates that theirs is better and well worth supporting than the other. However, I believe only one of them will be able to claim any Olympian success.
With 2012 fast approaching the healthcare conference organisations are starting to vie for your support. At least two of them intend to hold conferences within a matter of weeks of each other, with the BCS teaming up with Kable (Guardian Group), who formerly ran Smart Healthcare Live. Two weeks later in Birmingham, former BCS partner, Citadel Events are going it alone offering a free conference to NHS Delegates – In4matics.
So the questions must be asked in these austere times, is there a place for these large conferences, can the NHS afford to attend, can suppliers pay the costs of exhibition fees, the resources to man the stand let alone the hotels and other expenses associated with two or three day conferences?
Don’t get me wrong, the exchange of ideas, debate and networking that we see at good quality conferences is great BUT do we need three, four or even five in a year? My preference would be to have one good national/international conference in the UK for the NHS to show off its best and for the supplier industry to respond accordingly.
Many suppliers are moving to webinars with online Q&A where ‘delegates’ can watch either in real-time and participate or download at their convenience and from their own workplace. No travel costs, no hotel costs and certainly no exhibition cost. I recently chaired such an event, which had more than 1400 people registering with very powerful lead generation. So maybe there is a place for more of these types of digital interactions.
So in a time where the NHS is mandated to make massive savings, how then can these multiple events succeed without incurring huge losses and disappointment? Letting the market decide may be one way, or accept that actually low cost/budgeted events using multi-media will have their day.
Chair of Intellect Healthcare Group