Rising levels of basic IT competence are recorded in 2002 National Health Informatics Competency Survey – but the NHSIA has warned there is no room for complacency.

The survey shows that 33% of NHS staff judge themselves to be competent in basic IT – a significant leap up from the 14% figure recorded in the first survey last year.

The survey summary reports, "The results of this second national survey show some definite signs of progress in the acquisition of skills and knowledge.

"One of the most significant is the growing number of staff who are now familiar with the basic concepts of IT. The majority of staff now have an intermediate or higher level of understanding of computers and the basic hardware and software that comes with them – indications are that this could be as high as 75%."

The NHSIA adds a caution, however. "The majority of doctors, nurses and allied health professionals have yet to meet the required basic IT competence target with, for example 60% of GPs yet to acquire the required competence in e-mail."

Over 1000 NHS staff responded to the survey which asked them to assess their levels of skill against more than 50 informatics competencies.

Improving the skills of staff will be key to the implementation of the government’s ambitious plans for modernising NHS IT. The findings are intended to provide guidance and baseline data for local staff training and will inform the NHSIA in the provision of national training support.