HL Deb 11 June 2002 vol 636 cc31-2WA
Baroness Noakes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the target of 35 per cent of National Health Service trusts introducing level 3 electronic patient records by April 2002 will not be met; and whether they intend to take account to ensure that all NHS trusts introduce level 3 electronic patient records by the target date of 2005. [HL3566]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath)

A recent survey of progress towards level 3 EPRs presents a variable picture At present six trusts have complete hospital-wide EPR systems that meet the functionality described under level 3. However many more have some applications in place, for example results reporting and order communications. In addition, some trusts have implemented elements of EPR beyond level 3 with functionality around decision support and knowledge management of picture archiving and communications systems to support improved patient care.

That is why we are taking action by introducing a new national programme and implementation plan for IT in the NHS. This will significantly step up the pace of getting modern IT in place to support frontline patient care and also ensure that IT both drives change and gets the best from the extra resources the NHS is now getting.

The key points from the programme are: a new national IT programme director who will be responsible for the implementation of this programme; stringent national standards for data and IT in the NHS; an improved partnership with the IT industry and healthcare IT suppliers to increase the IT capacity for the NHS; a new procurement strategy to accelerate the impact of IT across the NHS; better central management which will include a ministerial task force chaired by Lord Hunt to ensure the advice and involvement of key healthcare professional and representative groups.

The intention has always been to have a first generation of electronic records in use across the NHS from 2005. This will be the starting point from which the NHS can begin to apply electronic records as a clinical tool in diagnosis, treatment, interventions and healthcare. By 2008, as indicated in Delivering the NHS Plan, we will expect to see all the advanced applications and functionality of electronic patient records in all PCTs and trusts.