The NHS Information Authority (NHSIA) has established a new business unit, NHS Support Services, to support the implementation of the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).  A particular focus for the new unit will be to support the NPfIT’s five Regional Implementation Directors and their teams.

An NHSIA spokesperson told E-Health Insider that the NHSIA was constantly looking at how it can meet changing clinical and service needs “We are looking to develop new support services, in response to the changes in information technology, which will be introduced by the NPfIT.”

According to the NHSIA the new NHS Support Services unit will make use of the NHS Information Authority’s established knowledge and skills base, to facilitate and support business continuity as the wider NHS begins to get to grips with new systems and processes. 

In a statement the NHSIA said of the unit.  “It aims to bring together existing services and provide a range of new implementation, support, training and facilitation services, which will be delivered locally in support of national initiatives (primarily the National Programme for IT).” 

A major element of the business unit will include the on-going management of established application (ASP) services direct to the NHS e.g. payment systems, management information systems, patient systems and implementation support tools such as the Tracking Database.

The NHSIA spokesperson told E-Health Insider that development of the new service remained at an embryonic stage while consultation with key stakeholders, such as Regional Implementation Directors, takes place.

The spokesperson continued: “However, courses for NHS staff who will be working with Local Service Providers (LSPs) are an early initiative, which also make an essential contribution to the professional development of health informatics specialists.”

The new programme of courses, offered through the NHSIA’s ‘Information Academy’, launched in January 2003, is intended to help NHS staff work effectively with LSPs.  Content for the courses has been designed by an NHS curriculum development panel and evaluated by Chief Information Officers.

The programme of courses, called ‘Working with LSPs – Establishing the Intelligent Customer Function’, includes five modules:

  • Module 1 – Defining the Intelligent Customer Function (ICF) – (1 day)

  • Module 2 – Information Governance – (1 day)

  • Module 3 – Managing Contracts – (2 days)

  • Module 4 – Managing Relationships & Enabling Change – (2 days)

  • Module 5 – Successful Projects – (2 days)

Further details and course dates can be found at: