HC2006 Informatics Conference: IT chief blames users for crashes

System problems, GP record transfer and IT strategic review.

Connecting for Health's chief executive says users are to blame for many of the problems with systems implemented under the IT programme.

Richard Granger, also director of NHS IT, told delegates at the HC2006 informatics conference last week that one of the major causes of IT problems was users' failure to read the instructions.

'One of the emerging factors for example with the NHS email service, is that it would be helpful if people could read the configuration instructions,' he said.

'A lot of service calls are not caused by failure of N3 (the NHS broadband network) or by providers, they are caused by people's local configuration problems.

'Resources are increasingly constrained, and sending people out to fix problems like this is wasting a lot of resources. A lot of the aberrant outages with things like Choose and Book are also to do with the absence of an accredited environment.'

Thames Valley LMCs chief executive Dr Paul Roblin said Mr Granger needed to 'get real'.

He said users everywhere had found IT systems such as Choose and Book were crashing for up to 12 hours at a time. It was clear the programmes themselves needed to change, not the users.

A GP survey found that half the GPs who used the Choose and Book IT system had problems with it at least once a day.

Dr Roblin also called on Connecting for Health to ensure that its programs were more user friendly. 'GPs want to use their computers, but they don't want to know what goes on under the bonnet - that's up to the IT techies,' he said.

He refuted any suggestion that GPs could be loading software on to practice systems that could interfere with the IT programmes software.

'Most practice IT system suppliers won't let you load whatever other programmes you want,' he said. 'GPs are very restricted in what they put on their computers.'

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