The 12 Days of Christmas IT

  • 19 December 2002

Thanks to everyone who entered our Christmas wish list competition. Phil Graham, head of information management and technology at Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Trust, is a worthy winner with his variation on the 12 Days of Christmas that is bound to strike a chord with many readers.

His prize is a bottle of bubbly from Richard Granger Fine Wines of Newcastle upon Tyne. Could they by any chance be related to our very own IT tsar? Not as far as we know, but that doesn’t stop the imagination working. Could Prime Service Providers opt to be paid in decent burgundy? Does ICRS really stand for Integrated Claret, Riesling and Sauternes? We should be told.

Meanwhile, Phil’s Christmas wish was for…
12 Working Pathways
11 Failsafe Servers
10 Mb net links
9 Data Standards
8 Less targets
7 fewer passwords
6 e-booking practices
5 Gold Partners
4 Telephone calls a day,br>
3 levels of EPR
2 times the budget
and ICRS in an IT strategy.

Helen Atkinson had much the same idea and it was hard to choose between the two. She wrote…
On the first day of Christmas my new Tsar gave to me:
One single Coding Language
Two Doctors Agreeing
Three Preferred Suppliers
Four failsafe servers
Five coders coding
Six Systems interfacing
Seven scanners scanning
Eight Clinicians computing
Nine nurses recording
Ten paperlight practices
Eleven electronic prescriptions
Twelve Billion Next Year
And some guidelines and training for free!

Among the rest of the entries, Pauline Sweetman, sent a modest little wish list that was, she stressed, a personal view:

1. All department managers to have compulsory brain implants to make them IT friendly.

2. All staff should have access to a computer whenever they need to use one for work.

3.The need for the above should be recognised by hospital department managers.
4. Hot-desking will be banned. Everyone to have their own desk.
5. PDAs supplied by a trust-wide procurement and issued to all staff free of charge.
6. A car parking space for each member of staff – not IT I know, but if you can’t park, you can’t work 🙂
7. A network that never goes down.
8. Remote access to the NHS net.
9.An integrated pharmacy / dispensing / prescribing system designed by pharmacist IT professionals (they do exist).
10. Hospital computer systems to be designed from scratch, not cobbled together from a load of old systems (I guess that does not mean ‘give us an integrated trust-wide system’ ! )

We liked the sheer breadth of the wish list from Rod Ward of Sheffield University. Goodness, the Department of Health elves will have to work right up to Christmas Eve to organise this lot…

1. Access AT THE POINT OF CARE for all staff to network
(whether via PC, Palm or whatever).
2. An ICRS which enables rapid location, not just of a patients info – but the relevant bit within that.
3. The NHS to stop reinventing the wheel and use "industry standard"
systems and protocols.
4. All staff to have the knowledge and skills (not just ECDL basic IT
skills) to manage information appropriately.
5. Unlimited bandwidth.
6. A classification system (not SNOMED or Read Codes) which
meets the needs of all staff – not just Drs/ pathologists.
7. Automatic mapping of that patient data classification system to
Literature classification systems (eg MeSH)
8. Confidence in the security and confidentiality of patient info – that
will not be shared without patients consent (repeal section 60 of
Health & Social Care Act).
9. The ability to "cross search" a wide variety of quality evidence
databases (including ejournals) without having to run the same
search multiple times.
10 NHS IT spending not to be gobbled up by politically expedient
short term targets in other areas.
If you could just put that lot in my stocking I’d be grateful.
OK, Rod, no problem, mate.

Finally John Clarke, programme director of Nottingham LIS Programme, sent us not so much a wish list as a small heartfelt plea.

"I wish the tsar would deliver something (anything will do, just something so we know that everything is alive and well)," he wrote. We’ll drink to that, John.

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