Demoralised staff threaten viability of NHS IT system

The introduction of a £6bn NHS IT system is at risk because the staff involved feel demoralised, researchers have warned.


A team of researchers from the Department of Public Health and Policy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine interviewed 23 senior managers and clinical staff involved in the Connecting for Health programme at four major hospital trusts.


According to the team’s report, published in the British Medical Journal, frontline staff felt disengaged in the process by the lack of consultation from Connecting for Health headquarters.


The report concluded that this posed a threat to getting the programme up and running by 2007 as planned, despite an extra £2.3bn being allocated to the programme in 2002 to speed up implementation.


Despite the extra money, staff were uncertain about when the IT systems would be implemented in hospitals and what funding would be available locally to support this.


A spokesman for Connecting for Health told the Times newspaper that the study had pre-empted a campaign which is due to start next month to engage staff in the project.

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