Practice support for NPfIT dwindles

GP support for the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) is ebbing away, according to a survey highlighting widespread concerns about cost and confidentiality.

The eighth annual survey by firm Medix for GP of attitudes to government’s reform of NHS IT involved more than 1,000 health professionals, including around 400 GPs, and found that while many had supported the principles of IT reform, they have become increasingly disillusioned over the last five years.

GP support in particular has shown a marked drop. Just 30 per cent of those surveyed now believe the NPfIT is an important priority for the NHS, compared with 67 per cent five years ago.

In addition just 23 per cent of GPs now consider themselves ‘enthusiastic’ about the project, compared to 56 per cent four years ago.

Across all health professions surveyed support is dropping away. Although 55 per cent still believe NPfIT will improve clinical care in the long term this is a significant decrease from last year’s figure of 65 per cent.

Among key reasons for this haemorrhaging of support are concerns about cost, the way health professions have been consulted and confidentiality of patient data.

Just 8 per cent of GPs believe NPfIT is a good use of NHS resources, compared with 47 per cent in 2003 and only 6 percent of all respondents said they have had a lot of information about NPfIT, little better than the 3 per cent who gave the same answer five years ago.

A Connecting for Health spokesperson said: 'We take the views of the public, patients and front-line NHS staff very seriously. We would view these results in light of what patients tell us.

'For example, on the positive contribution Choose and Book has made to patient referral times and the early signs from those areas introducing the Summary Care Record about the improvement this will make to patient safety.

'In the light of all of this wider experience and evidence, the results of the Medix survey do not appear to reflect the general picture on the ground or chime with other recent comprehensive surveys.'

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