Friday, 23 December 2011

A double helping of Christmas cheer and IT procurement woes

This morning I read Peter Smith's exclusive on a previously undisclosed undisclosed procurement capability review.   I gave a cheer for Freedom of Information.

I then picked up my paper at the local shop and read the wonderful headline 'Patients get right to see medical records online' and laughed.  I laughed for three reasons.

Firstly I have spend the best part of a year
using FoI requests trying to get access to my mother's patient records in order to protect her interests.  Despite holding Enduring Power of Attorney I was unable to access the records.  My mother then signed the FoI request but the Trust under the guise of her regular psychiatric test - she has severe Alzheimer's - established that she didn't have the competency to request the records (which ironically was one of the things we were trying to prove through the records!  So hurrah for a potentially good idea.

Secondly, I laughed at the notion of IT security - how on earth can we rely on the records being sufficiently secure and not converted into a saleable commodity for the NHS.

Thirdly, I laughed, well almost cried at the notion that this can all happen within three years.  We haven't the best record of demonstrating competence in IT delivery in terms of cost, quality and functionality - if you disagree have a look at my blogs on the NHS IT fiasco and the Probation Service recent debacle.

I would like to have some sort of reassurance that previous lessons have been learnt and there is a robust approach to risk management.  Rather than announcing an aspiration I would like to hear how delivery will be assured and that there is a robust business justification.  Otherwise, I suspect in three years we will have another tale to tell.

Background reading
Barrow, M. (2011) 'Patients get right to see medical records online', in The Times, 23 December 2011, p.1

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