[GLLUG] IT for the NHS and General Practices

Chris Bell chrisbell at chrisbell.org.uk
Mon Jun 25 08:42:22 UTC 2018

On Monday, 25 June 2018 09:04:23 BST Chris Hunter via GLLUG wrote:
> Andy
> You're entirely right, but it's been my experience that middle management -
> the "subject matter experts" - don't stand up for themselves against
> conservative and often stupid senior management.  This leads to good advice
> being either ignored or not ever provided.  The boorish attitudes prevalent
> in the senior reaches of the Civil Service have also led to entirely stupid
> decisions. Since the Civil Service largely run the country - irrespective
> of the colour of the government - little will ever change. When applying
> for a fairly senior post in an arm of the Civil Service, the interviewers
> were more interested in which Public School I attended rather than my
> actual qualifications for the job! It was at that point the I decided that
> I would stay in the private sector. Chris
Both my local council and the North West London NHS say they have no more 
money, while there were recent news reports about the adjacent NHS area over-
spend. However my local GP surgery, a short walk from home, appears to be 
fairly well integrated into the local NHS system. When appointments are agreed 
a text is sent immediately to my mobile phone, with a reminder a day or so 
before the appointment. There is a touch-screen log-in with information about 
the expected waiting times. They have a screen on the wall which displays 
general NHS information and mini programmes, interrupted by calls for a 
patient to go to the correct room. Everything appears to work via the local 
NHS, and emails appear to be sent and received via the local NHS.
My sister's GP, a short walk from her home less than half a mile away in the 
same part of the borough and NHS area, has similar facilities but appears to 
be less well organised, and she has noticed mistakes on several occasions.
Friends who have always lived, worked, and are now retired in rural Hampshire 
face a totally different situation. Their nearest GP surgery has now closed, 
they have frequent hospital appointments, and the previously infrequent bus 
service is now discontinued. Both the NHS and the local council say they have 
no money left.

At least two generations know little about computing thanks to politicians, 
and moving from a system that we consider appalling to a totally new system 
that has absolutely nothing to put on the table would be like jumping from the 
top of a mountain in the dark. A shared common information and data framework 
that would allow access to the required selection of data to suit local 
requirements would be vital, making selection and display on screen as difficult 
as designing a web page, while collecting and entering original data should be 
easy, although gathering information from old non-standard records would 
require additional effort. Whole genome research is already attempting to 
correlate huge amounts of varied information, so perhaps we should learn from 
that before making decisions.
I am listening to the announcements on radio that following the collapse of 
Carillion, and the discovery that at least one other major supplier appeared 
to be heading the same way, the official contract procurement procedures are 
being changed to allow a wider range of providers, including cooperative 
groups, to be considered rather than just the current small selection of 
"approved" major providers. Should we believe what we hear and make a start? 
If not would we leave it open so that many smaller regions will go their own 
Chris Bell
Website http://chrisbell.org.uk

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