MMS Friends


Friday, December 31, 2004

FOI request - Wells review/report on NHSU

I am today sending the letter below to the Department of Health to request under the Freedom of Information Act a copy of the Wells review of the NHSu.

Freedom of Information Officer

Open government section

Department of Health,

PO Box 777,

London SE1 6XH


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to make an open government request for all the information to which I am entitled under the freedom of information act. In order to assist you with this request, I am outlining my query as specifically as possible. If however this request is too wide or too unclear, I would be grateful if you could contact me as I understand that under the act, you are required to advise and assist requesters.

I wish to obtain a copy of the report of the study about the National Health Service university (NHSu) which was chaired by Sir William Wells. This work was a “more detailed study” into the NHSu following on from the report “Reconfiguring the Department of Health’s Arm’s length Bodies”. I understand the Wells review/report was discussed at the NHSu board meetings on 22nd July and 30th Sept.

I contacted my MP Dan Norris in October and received a copy of a reply from John Hutton (Ref: P05005693 dated 9th Nov 2004) stating that the DoH intended to publish the findings from this report “shortly” on the department web site. I have searched both the DoH and NHSu web sites and can not find this report.

I understand that under the act, I should be entitled to a response within 20 working days. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.


Rod Ward


Information Requests, NHSU, 15th Floor, 88 Wood Street, London, EC2V 7RS

Dan Norris MP

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

makingITwork - Issue Three

makingITwork - Issue Three

The latest edition of the NHSIA newsletter is now available in PDF

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

CILIP | Future Proofing the Profession

CILIP | Future Proofing the Profession

This report, just released by The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), considers current and future developments in information services, and the professionals who provide them, using health as its key example.

It includes a summary of some major NHS/DoH strategies over the last few years and examines their implications.

Amongst their conclusions, they state:

"We [CILIP] have to recognise that for all users whether academic, clinical, practitioner or patient, libraries are now a small part in the spectrum of sources used when information gathering. We can no longer insist that users tailor their information seeking behaviour to the highly structured systems that characterise libraries. We must instead recognise the influence of the chaotic web on the way in which information is presented and retrieved and modify the way we design and deliver all aspects of library and information provision."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Better information, better choices, better health: Putting information at the centre of health

Better information, better choices, better health: Putting information at the centre of health

This Department of Health Strategy which was launched yesterday aims to "a 3 year programme of action, at both national and local level, designed to improve equitable access to the quality information people need and want to make choices about their personal health and healthcare."

NHS 'unprepared' for information changes, says report

A report today (17 December) in Guardian Unlimited (,11032,1375382,00.html) says that 'nearly a quarter of NHS communication officers are unprepared for the Freedom of Information Act'. The research reports that, of the communications officers responding:
  • 24% said they were definitely not prepared for the statutory changes;
  • 25% were worried that their records management system would be unable to meet the demands of the act (this includes a 20-day deadline in meeting any requests for information under the act); and
  • a quarter thought the record systems in their trust or health authority would fail to meet the requirements of the act.

It should be noted that the findings were based on responses from only 59 NHS communication officers, but does paint a worrying picture.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

National Patient Safety Agency - "Right Patient Right Care Final Report"

National Patient Safety Agency - "Right Patient Right Care Final Report"

This report from the National Patient Safety Agency (published 9th Dec) "is about how patients can erroneously receive health care which is not intended for them or be matched with specimens other than their own. It reviews the background to such mismatching and sets out the findings from two pieces of
research commissioned by the NPSA, one on checking using manual methods and the other on technology based systems.

The paper notes the link between this project and the Government’s major investment in healthcare IT through the National IT Programme (NPfIT). This will help ensure that
any technological solutions developed for mismatching are consistent with that programme both at a national and local level. The paper proposes a way forward with the NHS, industry and patients working together to devise and introduce systems
which will help to reduce mismatching significantly and make patient care safer."

It sets out current issues with the use of case studies and examines potential benefits from technology, including;
• barcodes – the most familiar form of ID coding technology, using adjacent bars and spaces to present information.
• radio frequency identification (RFID) – using radio-frequency transfer of data between a reader and a tag.
• card based technologies (magnetic strip, IC chip) – using cards which incorporate a magnetic stripe digitally encoded with information.
• biometrics (for example, finger printing and iris scan) – using automated methods of identifying or authenticating a living person based on physiological or behavioural characteristics.

With some conclusions about the most appropriate technologies and the importance of links with NPfIT the report summarises the current state of play and some plans for the future.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Docobo UK Ltd

Docobo UK Ltd

This product for remote monitoring of a range of phsyiological indicators in patients at home has grown from an EU funded research project and offers some useful capabilities.

It will be interesting to see how products such as this are incorporated in the the patient record under NPfIT.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Auricle - Aggregator inhibitions

Auricle - Aggregator inhibitions

This article from "Auricle : learning technologies in Higher Education" discusses the current state and potential future for blogs and, in particular, the educational & open source arguments around their use.

House of Commons - Constitutional Affairs - NHS FOI project

House of Commons - Constitutional Affairs - NHS FOI project

This report on the NHS Freedom of Information project is part of a larger report from the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs project about public sector preparedness for the Freedom of Information Act which comes into force on Jan 1st 2005.

It includes a comment from the Information Commissioner that the lack of central control has contributed to a patchy approach, particularly to GP practice publication schemes.

It concludes "Nevertheless, there is little evidence that the DCA has been sufficiently active in providing the necessary leadership to ensure that many of the organisational and technical problems have been addressed in time in this sector."

I wonder of the department of health's own FOI publication scheme will cope with applications at the beginning of January?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Future Health Bulletin - Care connection

Future Health Bulletin - Care connection

Todays issue of Future Health Bulletin (issue 35 Dec 04) carries an item (reproduced below with permission), describing an electronic record system for allied health professionals which has been implemented in Leicestershire and Rutland. It raises some important questions about the future use of "niche" systems which need to be made complient with the National Spine.

Therapist system shows positive results

A wireless administration and record system for 'allied health
professionals' - occupational therapists, physiotherapists,
podiatrists, dietitians, and speech and language therapists - is
delivering measurable benefits, according to its developers.

Leicestershire Health Informatics, which provides non-acute IT
to six primary care trusts in Leicestershire and Rutland, credits
the Tiara9 ( system for
better follow-up care and a halving of some waiting-list times.
An offline system is now being tried by home visitors.

“The system holds information on whether you clipped
someone’s toenails, how many first and follow-up visits, how
many bunions – no more thumbing through your diary to figure
out what you did that month,” said Ian Wakeford head of
Leicestershire Health Informatics.

Implementation in Leicestershire began in 2001, before the
government started on its attempt to create a single solution as
part of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).“The national
programme offers plenty for GPs, acute care and hospitals but
will have nothing to offer adult therapy until the back end of
phase two or beginning of phase three.

But what will happen to Tiara9 if the NPfIT delivers? “We are
not planning to take away a niche system that meets therapists’
day-to-day clinical needs just to put them on a generic system,”
Wakeford said. To be sure this option is available, he says, Tiara
will become a spine-compliant legacy system.

The Leicestershire Tiara9 implementation is the biggest, but the
systems has also been adopted by primary care trusts in
Derbyshire, Scotland, Northampton and Warwickshire.

METRO-the creation of a taxonomy for medical education - Health Information & Libraries J, Vol 21, Issue 4, pp. 211-219 (Abstract)

METRO-the creation of a taxonomy for medical education - Health Information & Libraries J, Vol 21, Issue 4, pp. 211-219 (Abstract)

This paper by Alex Haig, Rachel Ellaway, Marshall Dozier, Don Liu§ & Jean McKendree addresses an important area for medical (& all healthcare) education and describes the approach their team took to the development of and agreement on a shared vocabulary to enable the finding and sharing of resources.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Policy Research Programme - The Role Of Technology In Supporting Chronic Disease Management, Self Care, And Healthy Living

Policy Research Programme - The Role Of Technology In Supporting Chronic Disease Management, Self Care, And Healthy Living

This looks like a very interesting call for research proposals "aimed at evaluating the various alternative organisational infrastructures and the impact of technology in supporting chronic disease management, self care and healthy living".

If anyone might be interested in some form of collaboration on this please get in touch.

Monday, December 06, 2004

NHS broadband plans thrown into confusion

NHS broadband plans thrown into confusion

This report from E Health Insider about problems with the way in which Broadband connection are supposed to be provided to the NHS could potentially be a major problem for the NPfIT, especially for bandwidth hungry applications such as PACS.

Patient Safety: Is the Evidence Strong Enough That Information Technology Can Help?

Patient Safety: Is the Evidence Strong Enough That Information Technology Can Help?

This paper in The Informatics Review by Denis Protti responds to a previous paper and tries to move the arguments about Electronic Health Records from a financial Return on Investment (ROI) case to one which focuses on patient safety.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Electronic Prescription: Standards and Decision Support Issues

Electronic Prescription: Standards and Decision Support Issues

This paper from the CommunityZero - "The Journal on Information Technology in Healthcare" describes an Australian ePrescribing initiative. IT "reports on experiences gained from development and testing of an ePrescription prototype template. In addition, it explores some important issues, such as messaging and medicine terminology
standards, and decision support/interface design that can affect the acceptance and effects of ePrescription".

Friday, December 03, 2004

A study of missing Web-cites in scholarly articles: towards an evaluation framework -- Sellitto 30 (6): 484 -- Journal of Information Science

A study of missing Web-cites in scholarly articles: towards an evaluation framework -- Sellitto 30 (6): 484 -- Journal of Information Science

This study from the Journal of Information Science by Carmine Sellitto points out an ongoing problem with the use of electronic publishing in academic discourse and reminds me of various pieces of work on Link Rot over the last few years.

If we are to base patient care on research, guidelines etc., as well as academic articles, it is vital that a copy is preserved in the format it was originally published in. The ability to change texts as new evidence comes to light is brilliant, and can bring up to date material closer to the point of patient care, but there are also risks in overwriting earlier work.

JobStats - Trends in the demand for the skill: NPfIT

JobStats - Trends in the demand for the skill: NPfIT

I've just come across this site which examines the state of job adverts in the IT sector & this particular page which examines NPfIT as a proportion of the sector.

I wonder if it is really IT staff which are needed or clinical and end user involvement? Perhaps this is now the key job of NPfIT staff as suggested by Lucy Sherriff in her piece for The Register NPfIT must win medical hearts and minds

Guardian Unlimited | Online | Wicked questions about electronic records

Guardian Unlimited | Online | Wicked questions about electronic records

This piece from Michael Cross in the Guardian asks some interesting questions about the role and influence of the Care Records Development Board in relation to NPfIT projects.

Further comment on this is available from EHealth Insider CRDB conference stokes debate on patient awareness and a more official press release Care Record Development Board Confronts Data Sharing from the NHS Health Informatics Community.

HC2005 Bursaries

The British Computer Society is offering bursaries for NHS IT professionals
to attend next year's Healthcare Computing Conference and Exhibition in
Harrogate. Entrants are required to submit an essay up to a maximum of 2000
words by e-mail with the title "Shaping Sands, Shifting Services: Health
Informatics and Change." Winners will have registration, conference fees
and accommodation paid for, and be invited to display a poster at the
event. More details can be downloaded
(PDF, 95K). Entries close at 9am on 22nd December.

Sir Ian Carruthers new NILSI chief

Sir Ian Carruthers

According to the Health Service Journal "Dorset and Somerset strategic health authority chief executive Sir Ian Carruthers has been appointed to oversee the creation of a new NHS Institute for Learning, Skills and Innovation to replace the NHSU and the Modernisation Agency by July next year."

I wonder how the operation of NILSI will vary from that of the Modernisation Agency and NHSu?