The National Programme for IT is an 'absolutely one-off' opportunity to improve 'beyond measure' NHS services, according to the programme's new director of service implementation.

Richard Jeavons, who only took over the post this week, told delegates that NpfIT would endure all future policy changes and every change of government once it was implemented.

He said: 'We have an absolutely one-off, fundamental opportunity to improve beyond measure the quality of what we are doing for the public.

'IT is going to be one of the few enablers that we know will not go away - this is not a fashion.' Trust chief executives, board members and the 'key influencers' in the NHS needed to see the programme as a way to resolve and tackle their problems and not as 'another thing on their lists of things to worry about', said Mr Jeavons.

'I can't imagine, five years down the line, the NHS as an island of unchanged behaviour, particularly in IT, while the rest of the globe has moved on. I cannot imagine it from a sheer intellectual and managerial point of view and I cannot imagine it as a user of the service.'