Headlines: February 17th, 2003

The NHS has decided that it lacks the management capacity to deliver its National Programme for IT. Last month it announced that the core of a Programme team was in place. Expenditure on the programme will amount to 700m pounds in 2004/05 and 1.2bn pounds in the following year. Advance notice of the systems procurement was issued in December 2002 and the procurement was formally advertised last month.An advert for managers to assist in the implementation of the programme has just been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. It asks for a Chief Operating Officer and director level managers as well as for staff to operate a programme office. The expertise it is seeking includes project planning, risk analysis and management, cost modelling, contracting and procurement and implementation management. A prime requirement for the new recruits is ability to work with NHS staff and this means that although the advert was published in all EU countries, a high standard of English will be required from the successful applicants.

The National Programme for IT focuses on the key developments that will make a significant difference to improving the patient experience and the delivery of care and services. The four elements are electronic appointment booking, an electronic care records service, electronic prescribing and a broadband to support national applications and local systems.