Over 30,000 clinicians are now registered users of the NHS Care Records Service ‘data spine’ and over 124,000 users have registered with Contact, the secure e-mail and directory service, according to the annual report from Connecting for Health (CfH).

Chief executive, Richard Granger, concludes in his foreword to the report: "The foundations have been firmly laid for the digitisation of the NHS."

Other headline figures given in the list of achievements include:

  • A total of 16 patient administration systems deployed by 1 June 2005 – nine in the East, one in the North-east and six in the North-west and West Midlands
  • The first electronic prescription issued in February 2005 with numbers set to rise ‘dramatically’ in the coming months
  • Fast and reliable broadband access delivered to 6000 primary care sites and 1500 secondary care sites.

Granger explains the problems caused by the NHS’ legacy of under-investment and the fragmentation of systems across the service. In addition he refers to the ‘hundreds of end-user organisations’ that have strong, valid opinions regarding their preferences around technology.

"It is against this backdrop of strategic under-investment in information technology, supply chain weaknesses and a heterogeneous user base that the National Programme for IT was conceived.

"Despite these obstacles, the progress we have already achieved has exceeded expectations," he says.

The challenge for the coming year will be to continue to develop new systems and roll out systems that have proven successful on early adopter sites.

"I am confident that our annual report for 2005-6 will contain details of our success in delivering systems which help tens of thousands of NHS personnel to better serve millions of patients using tools which have been delivered by Connecting for Health," he said.

The report profiles frontline users in the NHS at work with new systems including the GPs’ Quality Management and Assessment System (QMAS) and single assessment process technology being used to co-ordinate health and social care in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear.

Related documents

NHS Connecting for Health [PDF, 939K]