Doctors give sickly outlook for NHS IT

You're sick, very, very sick

Doctors working within the NHS have delivered a damning prognosis for the future of the government's planned upgrade to its IT systems.

Seventy five per cent of doctors questioned for Radio 4's File on Four are worried the new system will be a failure. A measly seven per cent believe they have been consulted properly about the new system. It emerged last week that spending on the NHS National Programme for IT could top £30bn over 10 years. The project aims to give every patient an electronic health record accessible to medical staff as needed.

Dr Paul Cundy, chairman of the joint British Medical Association and Royal college of General Practitioners' IT committee, told the BBC that doctors had not been properly consulted. He said: "We know from past disasters and investigations that if you want to implement things successfully in the NHS you must engage clinicians first."

"To put it in easy terms, we have been banging on the door to say 'we have expertise that you could benefit from'".

The committee is also concerned about the privacy implications of a nationwide database.

Richard Granger, the man in charge of technology for the NHS, told the BBC there was more work to do in winning doctors over, but said medical staff were getting involved in decision-making over the upgrade.

File on Four spoke to 500 doctors for the survey. The programme is broadcast tomorrow at 8pm. ®

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