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Academics compile 'encyclopaedia of concerns' about NPfIT

Call for technical review

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A group of academics have issued a "dossier of concerns" calling for a technical review of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT)

Brian Randell, Emeritus professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University, told GC News that the 200 page dossier containing "everything said about the NPfIT over the last few years" will help Parliament's Health Select Committee with its pending inquiry.

The committee is due to start its inquiry into the progress of the NPfIT this month, Randell said, and the dossier, containing a selection of media reports, select committee responses and supplier issues from the past few years, is to be used as an "encyclopaedia" of concerns. However, the 23 academics' ultimate campaign is for the government to instigate a wider review of the programme's objectives, technical architecture and implementation.

Randell said: "We are pleased that the committee has recently stated that our dossier will prove helpful in their planned inquiry, as well as to the detailed technical review, which we hope will ensue."

The dossier states: "It (the dossier) brings together a host of evidence, covering a very wide range of issues that in combination suggest the project is in serious trouble. Given the scale of the project, one of the largest ever attempted…reinforces the need for a careful, open, honest and independent examination of the situation."

The dossier follows the released late last year of the British Computer Society Health Informatics Forum (BCS HIF) report, The Way Forward for NHS Health Informatics. It acknowledges the successes of the programme, but says Connecting for Health has placed too much emphasis on central decision making.

Its forward refers to the "top down nature" of the programme and lack of local ownership, and says this is one reason why many NHS staff have yet to see its potential for positive change.

The Department of Health is reportedly holding a meeting on 26 January 2007 to discuss, among other things, the progression of the programme.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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