It’s rather saddening to hear that the Chancellor doesn’t consider an IT system ‘essential to the frontline’. If done properly, IT does become rather indispensable to front-line clinical staff. We have seen this overseas in the improved efficiency with which doctors and nurses can manage their patients’ prescriptions, gather patients’ notes and past history (which are always legible), or even something as simple as keeping track of the number of free beds in the hospital.
The NHS will need an IT system eventually, in all probability sooner rather than later. The failure of the National Program for Information Technology is not that it has cost £12billion, but that it has cost £12billion without delivering anything so far. A health service IT system is absolutely necessary, and the longer it takes to get one, the farther the NHS falls behind.