Published: 06/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5904 Page 4

Clinicians are being drafted in to a new academy to be taught how to use technology developed through the national IT programme.

Called the Front-Line Support Academy, it will use simulators of hospital wards and GP surgeries, with actors playing patients.

The initiative follows criticism that the multi-billion-pound IT programme - which will bring electronic patient records and ebooking to the NHS - has yet to fully engage clinicians working on the front line.

A spokesman for the programme admitted to HSJ that more work was needed: 'We recognise that perhaps we haven't always got the message across to the health service.'

But he stressed hundreds of clinicians had been directly involved in the design of the IT systems to ensure it met the needs of the NHS.