CfH begins NHS information blitz

  • 19 September 2005

A marathon campaign to tell the nation about the NHS Care Record Service (NHS CRS) gets underway today with a leaflet blitz on NHS staff.

The 12 page leaflet, which is accompanied by a poster, gives an overview of how the programme will work and its impact on various aspects of modern care delivery. A film is also available exploring the benefits of the NHS CRS and looking at some of the areas where the system will be deployed.

Dr Gillian Braunold, NHS Connecting for Health’s GP clinical lead, told E-Health Insider that NHS staff had to be informed before the start of the public communication campaign about the new service.

“We’re well aware that there are varying degrees of understanding and knowledge of what the National Programme for IT is all about. This is the first phase – the internal NHS phase – and we expect trusts to help us in promulgating [the message],” she said.

“It’s about raising awareness of what’s coming and the role they will have in explaining the service to patients,” she said.

Trusts are being asked to distribute the leaflets and Dr Braunold said they had lots of inventive ways of making sure the information reached all staff including distribution with pay slips.

Local events are expected and tools are available to support training and education about the NHS CRS.

In a recent CfH Survey IM&T managers emerged, unsurprisingly, as the best informed staff group – what role were they expected to play?

“They need to be thinking about their communications back to their colleagues,” said Dr Braunold. “A lot of them are very versed but I don’t think the promulgation of messages within trusts has been good.”

The leaflet informs staff that the first areas to use the NHS CRS will go live during 2006 and that it will take until 2010 to finish creating all the links between computer systems in the NHS. The definition of ‘go live’ is said to mean that clinical information entered into one part of the NHS will be available to authorised people in another part.

How was the timing of the campaign arrived at given that some staff will wait a long time before they use the NHS CRS? Dr Braunold explained: “It’s chicken and egg. People criticise us for not getting messages out but there’s no point in doing it too far in advance.”

The current campaign will be followed in early 2006 by a more detailed pack which will show how the NHS CRS will specifically benefit GPs, hospital doctors, clerical workers, allied health professionals, nurses and other members of the NHS. Following this second phase, NHS Connecting for Health will begin a wider campaign designed to reach every member of the public in England.

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