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christine connelly......letter to the ft

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    NHS records system must work well before expansion
    Published: October 30 2008 02:00 | Last updated: October 30 2008 02:00

    From Ms Christine Connelly.

    Sir, It is not the case that the National Health Service records project has ground to a halt (report, October 27). As your article acknowledges, the programme has had a number of important successes that have brought many benefits to patients.

    As with any major release of software, it is sensible to review the experience of an early-adopter site before rolling the system out more widely – not only to fix technical issues but also to manage the impact on working practices.

    I feel strongly that any version of the system needs to work well before we attempt to expand its use. That is why we have provided additional support to early-adopter sites and will use this experience to inform future decisions.

    The NHS trust at Morecambe Bay has started the implementation process for the Lorenzo software. The trust will run elements of the system in parallel with current processes and move to the use of Lorenzo as confidence grows.

    I have now been in my post for a month and I agree that it is important to provide greater clarity on how we will balance the need for local configuration of systems to reflect the working practices of different hospitals while maintaining the capability to share patient information appropriately between clinicians across the whole of the system.

    I see it as a priority to bring clarity to these issues at the earliest opportunity. I will be working with colleagues across the NHS to bring forward plans by the end of the year.

    Christine Connelly,
    Chief Information Officer for Health
    Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008
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