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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nurses bypassed by NHS IT Projects says RCN survey

RCN: News & Press article: Nurses bypassed by NHS IT Projects ‘Talk to the ground floor workers...ask us what we need...’

The RCN has just released the results of its latest survey of 1700 members looking at nurses, IT and the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) in the NHS. It should be pointed out that this survey was conducted online and therefore may not include the views of those with limited IT knowledge & skills or access.

Nurses remain positive about the potential of IT to improve patient care but demand to be consulted on the way future systems are designed and used.

Sixty-three percent of those surveyed felt that without timely access to accurate and complete patient records, the care they deliver could be ineffective or even unsafe. Over two thirds of respondents said that they had little or no information about NHS IT developments. Nearly three-quarters felt they had not been adequately informed about integrated electronic health record developments within the NHS and almost a third had received no information at all.

The survey also highlighted a major lack of IT training opportunities within the NHS. Computer training should be made available to most NHS staff, yet over two thirds had not undergone any IT training at work over the previous six months. A large majority (88%) used a computer daily at work and over a third share a machine with over twenty people. Having to ‘fight’ to get access to a computer was an issue for 11% of respondents who often had to share a single machine with over 30 people.

Further comment on this story is available from EHealth Insider
and the full results are avaialble as a word file at:

The key role of nurses and the need for their involvement in IT-led changes within the NHS is further explored in an E-Health Insider comment and analysis piece by Linda Davidson "The magic glue". It includes comments from Heather Tierney-Moore (Nursing clinical lead at Connecting for Health (CfH)), Beverly Malone (RCN General Secretary) and Sharon Levy (RCN health informatics adviser) about nurses' importance - but limited suggestions for how to enhance the involvement of nurses.


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