Headlines: September 14th, 2000

The NHS 10 year plan is being put into effect with the take up of electronic systems to provide better support.NHS Direct, the largest telephone health advice service in the world, is to replace three support systems with a new decision support system to be installed by April 2001. The system will help nurses to assess a patient’s symptoms and determine the right level of care. It will also provide other information such as out of hours doctors’ services and ambulances services. The system will be progressively upgraded and by to 2002 nurses will be able to tell callers the location of their nearest pharmacy.

The contract to supply the decision support system has been won by AxaAssistance, the special assistance arm of the Axa Insurance Group. The deal provides for the NHS to receive up to 20% of all overseas sales of the system. This could be worth up to 10 million pounds over the life of the contract.

Pilot systems to allow family doctors to e-mail prescriptions to pharmacists will be launched in 2001. When the facility is fully implemented in 2004 it will be possible for patients to get repeat prescriptions from their pharmacist without having to see their doctor. Details are available at http://www.doh.gov.uk/medicines.htm   IT companies are being invited to bid for the initial pilot projects. Companies wanting to express an interest in running an ETP pilot should request an information pack frommichelle.hanchard@doh.gsi.gov.uk