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Local NHS organisations to lead digital health records strategy

18 Feb 2013
NHS doctor using a computer

The government intends to leave the majority of its NHS digital strategy planning and implementation to local primary care trusts and health organisations, V3 has learnt.

In November last year, the government launched its NHS Mandate, promising that by 2015 everyone who wishes will be able to get online access to their own health records held by their GP, and by 2018 the whole NHS would become paperless.

Now, in response to a V3 freedom of information (FOI) request, the Department of Health (DoH) has indicated that most of the IT planning for this paperless agenda will take place locally, rather than through a central governance structure.

"A small number of actions set out in the strategy will need to be led nationally, such as setting common standards to allow information to flow effectively around the system. More detailed implementation planning is being led by local NHS organisations," said the DoH.

The DoH declined to comment on whether it had held internal planning meetings on the proposals.

V3 also quizzed the DoH on how it intends to provide every patient with online access to their own health records, and whether it had help meetings with any IT suppliers.

However, the department would not say whether private IT firms would be used to provide this online service, or whether it had consulted with any such firms on the agenda so far.

The DoH said that the NHS Commissioning Board would now be in charge of taking the work forward.

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