How not to promote health IT changes in the NHS!


Where are NHSX getting their senior advisers from I ask myself as over the past few weeks we have seen fleeting comments which quite frankly have no gravitas what so ever.

I have attended most of the digital health shows and expos over the spring and summer months and have seen many start ups and existing health IT suppliers with new and exciting innovation which gives me enthusiasm and vigour to keep banging the drum and promoting these companies wherever possible.

Then you get people like Terence Eden, Senior Technology Adviser NHSX telling us to move GP surgeries if you cannot book appointments online. Well thats me stuffed then I’ll have to find another GP, do a background search to find an appropriate one, fill out all the forms again, let my family know we are all changing GP whether they want to or not all because they don’t book appointments online. Never mind that they have one of the best doctor-patient interactions I have ever experienced and have treated my whole family as a unit with interactions between different members taking this into account.

Also, he advises that if you work in an NHS Trust and the wifi is not good move to another Trust where it is better, just like that, start looking for another job somewhere else. Please, who does this person think he is? Why are NHSX employing people who think that the solution to poor IT infrastructure is just move on.

I have spent over 27 years in the NHS both as a clinician and a clinical safety officer supporting my colleagues and patients using the technologies available to me which I must say have been most of the time adequate if not somewhat dated, but the care and management of those patients has never been compromised at any point. Yes there is an issue with a number of NHS Trusts and Primary Care Settings that do have inadequate infrastructure but these areas need to be the focus for NHSX to improve on.

But Terence Eden seems to think the complete opposite when he states that we need to ‘find people who are operating well and we are going to accelerate them’.

So the Trusts that are struggling lets not worry about those as all the staff would have left them anyway and moved to the Trusts that are already excelling and will get more support for doing such a sterling job.

If we are going to improve the digital transformation plans of NHS Trusts across the health sector then we need to embrace those that are struggling and not leave them behind. What message is this sending out to those that need help with their digital transformation plans who are hoping for improved services with support from NHSX and NHS Digital as part of the new improved programme that has been promised.

Lets hope that the ideology of these departments is to take on board the feedback and thoughts of those on the ground who interact with the technologies available rather than trying to push forward change by taking the advice of certain individuals who think they know best.

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