Friday, April 08, 2005

FOI request - DoH response

Minutes after posting my last entry on this blog I recieved the email below from the Department of Health & I think it is now referenced as "Complaint 84":

Dear Mr Ward,

Thank you for your email of 18 February 2005. Apologies for the delay in responding. This is to confirm that it is receiving attention and we will reply to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Otto
Freedom of Information Unit

letter to Information Commissioner re FOI request - DoH - Wells report on NHSU

As I have still not received a response from the Department of Health following my appeal, under the Freedom of Information Act, against their refusal to disclose the report written by Sir William Wells into the NHS University see: entry on 18th Feb

I have now written to the Information Commissioner to complain - a copy of the letter is below:

FOI/EIR Complaints Resolution
Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wish to complain about and appeal the actions of the Department of Health (DoH) in respect to my application for disclosure, under the Freedom of Information Act, of the report written by Sir William Wells into the NHS University (NHSu).

I enclose a letter (dated 9th Nov 2004 Ref: PO5005693) from John Hutton, minister of state at the DoH in which he states an “intention to publish the findings shortly”.

As this had not been published I submitted a letter to the DoH on 1st Jan 2005 (copy enclosed) requesting disclosure of this report.

I did not hear from the DoH until I received a letter dated 14th Feb (ref: TO6011201, copy enclosed) stating they had decided not to disclose the report and citing section 33of the Act – Audit functions as the reason for non disclosure.

I then wrote (copy enclosed) to Jill Moorcroft (FOI officer at the DoH) on 18th Feb requesting an internal review of the decision.

I have not received any acknowledgement or decision from her, and it has now been more than the six weeks I understand is considered a reasonable time to respond.

I wish to complain, both about the time taken to respond to my request and the original decision by the DoH not to disclose the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Rod Ward

Thursday, April 07, 2005

NHS FOI survey

NHS FOI survey

This page reports a survey by of 66 NHS organisations and reports that they had received few requests, with clinical performance being the most common subject, and that they were coping with them well.

The full report is available in PDF

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The NHS-HE Connectivity Project

The NHS-HE Connectivity Project

I have recently been invited to a meeting of the NHS-HE Connectivity Project, which aims to "Co-ordinate and support network connectivity between the NHS and Universities involved with education and research in medicine and professions allied to medicine".

The site includes some interesting architecture papers & case studies of closer working between JANET the HE network and the NHS network which has the potential to overcome many of the access problems for our students.

JMIR - TOC Vol 7 (1) (Jan-Mar 2005)

Journal of Medical Internet Research - Table of Contents Volume 7, Issue 1 (Jan-Mar 2005)

The latest issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research is now available.

It includes articles on:

The Role of an Online Community for People With a Rare Disease: Content Analysis of Messages Posted on a Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Mailinglist

What Is eHealth (4): A Scoping Exercise to Map the Field

The Law of Attrition

They are all available freely in HTML & for members in PDF

Information Services in the NHS – Staff questionnaire

Information Services in the NHS – Staff questionnaire

“The National Library for Health ('NLH') is carrying out a survey of the information needs of staff working for the NHS in England.

Please help them by completing the survey at

The survey, which covers all NHS staff, is designed to identify the information needs people experience in the daily course of their jobs. The results of the survey will be used to develop the content and services available via the NLH and through local NHS library and information services, with the aim of supporting not only clinical and management decision making, but also continuing professional development and skills training. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete.

Report on 'Every Child Matters'

MP committee concerned by Government plans for IT-based ‘child indexes’

This report from sets out the findings of the House of Commons Education and Skills Committee into Government plans for IT-based ‘child indexes’ in its Green Paper 'Every Child Matters'.

Several issues are discussed including training and the balance between cost and potential benefit;

“Joint training is crucially important – both in terms of breaking down barriers between professionals and upgrading the skills of in-service staff working in education, health, social services, the voluntary and community sector, and elsewhere. Yet this is expected to be funded, in the main, locally, and this may be very difficult where there are other pressures on budgets.”

“Another area we have concerns about is the creation of a series of linked IT-based ‘child indexes’ or databases. Child indexes are likely to be costly, yet the research evidence currently available does not prove that they will be worthwhile, or that serious operational obstacles can be overcome. The Government has agreed that there is a need to progress very slowly in this area, and we strongly agree. Pending further research and analysis, the possibility remains that money allocated to child indexes could be more usefully spent elsewhere.”

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Informatics Review

The Informatics Review

In the latest issue of the Informatics Review there are links to several interesting articles. Chief among these is one from Business Week entitled, "The Digital Hospital -- How info tech saves lives and money at one medical center. Is this the future of health care?"

In addition, there are links to the following Clinical Computing and Informatics News items:

* Taking a Walk on the Supply Side: 10 Steps to Control Health Care Costs

* A feasibility study of signed consent for the collection of patient identifiable information for a national paediatric clinical audit

* A great site for medical informatics and health IT-related jobs

* Report to the 73rd Legislative Assembly: Electronic Health Records & Data Connectivity