The National Programme for IT in the NHS: an update on the delivery of detailed care records systems - Public Accounts Committee Contents

Written evidence from British Telecom

BT is one of the main suppliers to the National Programme for IT in the NHS delivering three key contracts. Below are some key bullet points detailing progress so far:

Local Service Provider - in London and the South of England: BT is working with community, acute and mental health trusts to deliver clinical information systems which are connecting care teams together and transforming the way patient care is delivered.

—  BT systems and services are working in 80 NHS organisations across London and the South of England, with over 170,000 registered NHS users.

—  Picture archiving and communications systems, which enable images such as X-rays and scans to be stored electronically and viewed on screens, are now in use in every acute hospital in London, every day, with images now being made available for sharing between acute hospitals.

—  RiO - the electronic patient record system - has been installed at 62 community and mental health trusts in London and the South of England, giving health professionals instant access to patient clinical information, which used to take up to 24 hours with previous systems.

—  Acute trusts have been more challenging owing to greater scale and complexity but progress has been made and, to date, BT has installed the Cerner Millennium electronic patient record systems at six acute trusts in London - and is managing systems at a further two acute trusts.

—  BT is also managing Cerner Millennium at seven acute trusts in the South of England, and it has upgraded five of these trusts to the latest configuration of Cerner, taking them on a journey to benefit from more clinical functionality.

—  BT is due to install new systems to four further acute trusts by the end of the 2011-12 financial year, and continues to work with existing trusts to upgrade their systems.

N3 - the secure national broadband network built and managed by BT for the NHS

—  One of Europe's largest virtual private networks, it connects every NHS organisation across England and Scotland and 1.3 million NHS employees.

—  Replacing old and more expensive technology, it has saved the NHS £192 million so far.

—  It supports key national applications for healthcare workers and patients, including electronic hospital booking and the electronic transfer of prescriptions.

—  It's also helping the NHS to make efficiency and quality improvements. The N3 network now offers voice services, allowing 100 NHS trusts to benefit from reduced internal phone calls lower calls to mobiles.

—  N3 also supports a managed national videoconferencing service that is expected to save up to £160 million on travel costs when fully deployed.

The NHS Spine service: a highly secure database of patient information and a powerful messaging system which supports key NHS services.

—  It hosts a personal demographics service, which holds the names, addresses, gender and NHS numbers for more than 70 million patients cared for by the NHS in England.

—  Among other functions, the Spine manages requests for patient details. Identifying where the information is held, it returns the results in milliseconds, routing more than two billion messages between accredited IT systems every year.

—  More than 900,000 Smartcards have been issued to NHS staff, meaning they have been registered and approved to access the Spine and will be able to view - subject to appropriate and strictly enforced controls - a patient's clinical and demographic information electronically.

—  The services it supports are being used more every day. Over 25 million appointments have been booked electronically so far with Choose and Book and one million medical records have been transferred electronically from GP to GP.

—  More than six million summary care records have been created on the Spine - electronic records that give healthcare staff faster, easier access to essential information about patients. These records contain basic information such as current medications, allergies and previous bad reactions to medicines.

—  Part of the Spine, the Secondary Uses Service provides secure access to national integrated healthcare information which can be analysed to help the NHS plan its operations and improve outcomes.

June 2011

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© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 3 August 2011