Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Could do better.

It looks like Alistair Darling is going to make a "massive U-turn" tomorrow when he mentions the NHS IT system in his pre-Budget report. He is not saying the system is wrong. Have you ever heard a politician say something that they had previously said was wrong? No he is going to scale back the IT in the NHS because it is not "essential to the frontline".

Until 2008 I worked in the Health Service as a physiotherapist. There was widespread recognition that computers were doing a good job but for all the time that I spent on the computer it did not replace my handwritten notes. I used a lot of abbreviations but I was told that the system would be able to accommodate this and I would be writing my notes directly onto a computer.

I remember well when the computerised appointment system came in. I went along as a member of the public to one reception and I overheard that they were closing for a day to get used to the new system. They also said that they could do with a week not one day. This was a frontline service and its service was definitely affected.

One of the benefits of computerised records is that you can go into a hospital at one end of the country and they could access your records from the other end. I never heard that this had been done for anyone and I would imagine that this was no benefit for the majority of people, but I am willing to accept that someone may have done this at some time.

There are benefits to computers in the NHS. I thought the improvements for x-rays was fantastic. I do like computers. I write two blogs every day and I use my computers for so many things. However it looks like most of the NHS IT system could be better and saving hundreds of millions of pounds may not be a bad move for Mr Darling.

Change the world

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