Two-thirds of NHS 24 callers sent elsewhere
I want to correct the implication that it is only EMIS practices that are severely threatened by the NPfIT. Many other practices will find themselves being strongly encouraged to change to the so-called local service provider (LSP) system that has been chosen for their area.
For example, many practices in our area use System One, which is hosted by the PCT informatics department. Nevertheless the NPfIT intends that practices should change to the new software which is going to be developed by the LSP firm during the next two to five years.
The NPfIT will be able to put pressure on the PCTs to achieve this. PCTs, which now pay for our support and upgrades, will be able to put a lot of pressure on GPs to change systems, in spite of the huge workload and the disruption to clinical care.
The agenda is to build a national NHS IT system to sort out the chaos of hospital record systems, and they need GPs involved (to keep the addresses up to date).
General practice IT has been developed with a lot of user input over the last 20 years and is a world leader. What is the chance of a national programme creating equally good software on a very tight schedule, when its main focus is not on general practice needs?
Can I also correct the erroneous idea that EMIS and other suppliers are not willing to
co-operate with the NPfIT. For example, EMIS took part in the electronic prescription transfer to pharmacies pilot.
However, EMIS hasn't applied to work for the NPfIT, which is hardly surprising when you consider it hasn't got experience with hospital computing and that other firms have a fairly disastrous record in developing hospital IT.
Electronic transfer of GP records would be nice, but we don't need the NpfIT to do that. Otherwise the NPfIT has very little to offer to GPs apart from a lot of work and a significant loss of functionality. We should all resist it strongly, not just EMIS practices.
Dr Ted Willis