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NHS information strategy launched

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7163.901 (Published 03 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:901
  1. Douglas Carnall
  1. BMJ

    Booking an NHS outpatient appointment in the future should be as easy as booking a package holiday in the sun if the new information strategy announced last week is successful.

    Prescriptions will be made ready for collection as the patient walks between consulting room and pharmacy, and networked electronic records will ensure that professionals have 24 hour instant access to information about patients when they need it. A new national electronic library for health will support the information needs of the public, patients, clinicians, and managers and be available on the national electronic NHS network, the NHSNet.

    The much criticised Information Management Group of the NHS is to be scrapped and replaced by the NHS Information Authority directed by the “sharply focused” NHS Executive Information Policy Unit.

    An additional £1bn ($1.6bn) over the next seven years in England and Wales will be added to current levels of investment to fund the developments, and future savings are expected as the NHS moves from paper to electronic processes.

    “Information technology has a central role in the government's ambition …

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