§ Ms Blears
Currently 98 per cent. of general practitioners' practices are computerised and linked to a national electronic network to support email communications and web browsing. Most of them operate clinical systems as part of their practice computerisation and an electronic patient record (EPR) will be part of the system. The level of detail and functionality varies significantly from practice to practice. In the majority of cases at present it will cover the electronic storage of basic patient and administrative details, medication and recent consultations with the GP.
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 chosen to implement elements of EPR beyond level 3 with functionality around decision support and knowledge management or 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 information technology (IT) in the National Health Service. This will significantly step up the pace of getting 1208W 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 NHSbetter central management which will include a ministerial taskforce chaired by my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary, The Lord Hunt of Kingsheath, 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 the electronic record 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 primary care trusts and trusts.