Information technology to improve NHS

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A new body to ensure NHS IT helps deliver better care and supports the Government's top priority of putting the interests of patients first was announced today by Health Minister John Hutton.

The Care Record Development Board (CRDB) will be chaired by Harry Cayton, the Department of Health’s Director for Patients and the Public. The board will bring together patients, public, social and healthcare professionals in one body. It will provide clinical and patient input into the development of IT by the National Programme for IT replacing the National Programme’s Patient Advisory Board and National Clinical Advisory Board.

There will be three deputy chairs: Professor Sir Cyril Chantler, Chair of the King’s Fund; Talib Yaseem, Director of Nursing for North Cumbria Acute Hospitals NHS Trust; with the remaining deputy chair from social care to be appointed. Members of the board will be appointed through an open advertisement. The process will be overseen by the NHS Appointments Commission.

John Hutton said:

“The new board has a vital role to play in improving care for patients. It will ensure the NHS develops patient-centred care processes that are supported by the IT being delivered by the National Programme. The work of the board will enable wider consultation and input into the way the NHS Care Records Service is being developed.”

Harry Cayton, chair of the CRDB, said:

“The board will comprise a small central team with a broad mix of patients and service users, health and social care professionals with experience of service delivery and a range of expertise. We will set the new paradigm for care, working with the National Programme to ensure the NHS can maximise the benefits that the new IT has to offer to support improvements in care.”

The core work of the board will be carried out by action teams that will define the processes within care and across the care boundaries that will be enabled through the use of IT.

The action teams will be commissioned to carry out specific pieces of work making their recommendations to the board. For example, an action team may be required to address and define the care processes involved in electronic prescribing. Each action team will be assembled based on the expertise required for the particular work area. The action team will consult with a wider network of stakeholders including NHS bodies, patient and user organisations and health and social care professions to enable them to make their recommendations to the board. These recommendations will inform the way that the IT is developed to support improved patient care.

The work of the action teams will be based on the priorities of the National Programme ensuring recommendations are given at the appropriate time to inform the development of the care records.

The work of the board will be made publicly available and a conference for stakeholders is planned for November 2004.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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