Health minister Lord Warner has recorded his first ever podcast with doctors’ network Doctors.net.uk, answering questions placed to him by forum users.

He answered questions on the Modernising Medical Careers recruitment reforms, NHS finances and headline jobs cuts, the growth in independent treatment centres and the future of IT in the NHS.

"All healthcare systems across the world are having to use IT. The idea that we could carry on providing the quality of healthcare with paper-based systems which is ofen been the history of the NHS is a totally fallacious idea," he told users. "We have got to move as quickly as we can to bring in our new electronic patient record."

Lord Warner said that technology was a positive step forward for healthcare, and he had been particularly impressed with Vista, the open-source veterans’ electronic record system deployed in the US. "I have seen this system operating in the Veteran’s Administration, which is a tax-funded system in the USA. Doctors are delighted with it."

"This is a first for the NHS. We need to work with the professionals about how we introduce this. We do have improving clinical engagement in the NHS," he said.

The minister also appeared to pour cold water on the idea of systems choice for GPs. "I recognise doctors are attached to their own IT systems," he said, "but what I say to them is that those IT systems are not joined up across the country and between primary care and secondary care and the new spine in Connecting for Health’s system will make it easy."

Dr Neil Bacon, founder of Doctors.net.uk, said: "The Doctors.net.uk podcast service allows 129,000 doctors using Doctors.net.uk to get their questions answered directly by those responsible for leading changes in the NHS. At the same time Lord Warner has used this opportunity to directly provide doctors with specific knowledge, ensuring they hear his words wherever they are working in the UK."

Previous podcast subjects have included Professor Sir Graeme Catto, President of the GMC and Andrew Dillon, Chief Executive of NICE.

"This is an invaluable way of enabling dialogue between Doctors.net.uk members and policy makers. Podcasts offer those shaping the future of the NHS, such as Lord Warner, the chance to talk openly with the medical profession," said Dr Bacon.

Lord Warner said: "This is the first time I have been involved in a podcast, to my knowledge. I’m enjoying the opportunity to communicate with doctors in this way."

The podcast is available on the Doctors.net.uk website to subscribers only.

Links

Doctors.net.uk