Paperless NHS faces resistance
28 January 2013
Jeremy Hunt's call for the NHS to become paperless by 2018 will not be easy to achieve, with people throughout the health service eager to hang on to paper records, an expert has warned.
Colin Sweeny, the director of ICT at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said the Health Secretary's ambition was something that the NHS needed to embrace.
"But it's not easy and not as straight forward as you think because people are quite keen on retaining their paper," he told the eHealth Insider
Hunt said in January
that it was "crazy" paramedics could not see the medical history of patients and that "GPs and hospitals still struggle to share digital records". There was now a need to become paperless with world class information systems if the health service was to deliver world class care.
Sweeny, who is overseeing a paperless transformation in his own trust, said these "ambitious" plans were "going to be a struggle for a lot of people to achieve".
Resistance to plans for a data revolution in the health service has been encountered already.
, a former government transparency tsar who is now the director for patients and information at the NHS Commissioning Board, wants the health service to move away from a situation where patient records are kept in "tatty folders" and where thousands of manila envelopes stored in hospitals could be lost at any time with "truly catastrophic" consequences.
Yet despite the arguments put forward about the risks associated with paper records, he has still been facing a "pinstriped brigade" of doctors who see his vision as "nonsense", he told a digital by default conference in December.
As an ordinary citizen I already have ALL my hospital records available to me on line 24 /7 - am I the first paperless patient in the UK?
No information silos for me - I also have my GP records, dental records and ophthalmic records all in a secure data ware house.
David Sandbach - Shrewsbury.