As cash earmarked for IT reform disappears, so does hope of modernisation

Published: 21/03/2002, Volume II2, No. 5797 Page 17

It gets worse. Not only are NHS plan targets slipping (see above), but so are others of longer standing. The NHS IT strategy, Information for Health, published in 1998, stipulated that more than a third of trusts would have implemented level-3 electronic patient records by next month; five trusts have managed to do so. All trusts should have done so by 2005 - and pigs might fly by autumn of the same year.

Supposedly ringfenced IT money appears once again to be going to meet deficits, despite ministerial pledges that that would never happen again. Ironically, everyone acknowledges that reform is a long-term process, yet it is being sacrificed for shortterm gain.

Without an IT revolution, the NHS can kiss goodbye to modernisation. And without that, it will have to kiss goodbye to its very existence.