Amicus-AEEU

Amicus-AEEU

November 09, 2006 19:01 ET

NHS staff in London lack confidence in the new IT system

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 09, 2006) -

Embargoed until 00.01 10th November 2006

According to an independent survey commissioned by Amicus union , NHS staff in London lack confidence in the implementation of the NHS' controversial new IT system.
Only 9% of respondents believed that their views had been taken into account and only 8% believed the new system will represent value for money.

18% disagreed with the statement 'the new IT system will help them do their jobs better' and 49% did not know.

The respondents were asked a number of questions on their attitudes towards the implementation and eventual outcome of the IT new system. A surprising number of respondents were unable to answer many of the questions, choosing the "don't know" option. 42% of the respondents did not know whether the new IT system for transferring patients records between GP surgeries and hospitals would be quicker and more efficient. 48% did not know whether the new IT system would decrease bureaucracy.

The survey was conducted to gauge the level of consultation over the introduction of new IT systems in the NHS. NHS Connecting for Health is delivering the National Programme for IT to bring modern computer systems into the NHS aimed at improving patient care and services. The NHS over the next ten years intends to connect over 30,000 GPs in England to almost 300 hospitals and give patients access to their personal health and care information. BT, which is responsible for deploying NPfIT (National Programme for IT) software in London, is believed to have spent more than GBP 200m on the project, but has been paid just GBP 1.3m by Connecting for Health for two years' work.

Whilst the union acknowledges the importance of the new IT system for improving patient care, the lack of staff involvement is symptomatic of the NHS' and its providers failure to listen to its staff who are responsible for delivering patient care. Amicus is calling on the NHS and its providers to give end users a greater say and more information on the delivery of the new IT system. Whilst the NHS has undoubtedly got better, morale amongst health service employees is at rock bottom, made worse by a series of rapidly introduced changes without the involvement of staff.

One survey respondent remarked

"The idea is great, and ultimately will led to a more efficient and better equipped health service. The process has however been sporadic, disjointed and principally IT lead, rather than clinically lead. This has resulted in several systems being developed at great cost, which were useless, and in some cases even dangerous, when put into clinical use. Further issues have arisen from the choice to source at regional level, leaving compatibility issues between regions, and confusion."

Amicus National Secretary for Health, Kevin Coyne says,

"It's appalling that so many key NHS staff in London lack confidence in the implementation of the worlds largest civil IT project.

Without consulting the people who will use these IT Systems the NHS management and the IT providers will leave patients and NHS staff floundering around in the dark.

We are dealing with systems which can either vastly improve the way we treat patients or hinder it. We need firm action now that delivers world class secure IT systems into a world class health service.

Amicus is calling on the NHS and its providers to give end users a greater say and more information on the delivery of the new IT system. Whilst the NHS has undoubtedly got better, morale amongst health service employees is at rock bottom, made worse by a series of rapidly introduced changes that have been introduced without the involvement of staff. "

As part of the National Programme for IT. it was decided to split England into five geographic regions London being one of them. The cluster has 7.2+ million citizens, 150,000 + staff ,43 hospitals ,1,660 GP practices and 13 care communities. BT are responsible for the introduction of the system in the London cluster and is the largest provider of IT and business solutions to the NHS.

Amicus union surveyed a range of its members in the NHS including Biomedical Scientists, Psychologists, Pharmacists, Child Protection Advisors, Data Center Operators, Customer Liaison Managers and Computer Technicians.

Notes: Amicus has 11000 members working in the NHS in London. The survey was conducted amongst 326 Amicus members.

Comments made by members who took part in the survey;

"The ethos of BT is to provide the cheapest possible solution in order to maximise profits. There are innumerable glitches and design faults which cause horrendous problems, and some systems have not even been tested in a test environment. Administrators of the systems are collectively feeling they wish to depart as the procedures BT have put in place to deal with problems are making their lives inoperable. It is just gross inefficiency and Trusts are buying into it at the highest level. "

"The introduction of the new IT at this hospital has been chaotic. Existing IT staff have not been kept informed of developments and their expertise and experience in successfully rolling-out new computer systems has been ignored. "

"If the IT systems are implemented efficiently and are maintained correctly the diagnostics, treatment and overall efficiency should improve. From my experience from working with IT systems I worry that this will not be the case and have concerns about how staff will deal with patients and access up to date information should something happen to the system."


Contact Information

  • Amicus Press Office
    Ciaran Naidoo
    Tel: 07768 931 315