BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has called for England to follow in the footsteps of the US by ensuring that all health organisations are using electronic patient records within five years.

Making a series of recommendations in response to the Information Revolution consultation, which closed last Friday, the BCS says: “All organisations providing care to the NHS should be given notice that they will be expected to be using an electronic patient record in a meaningful way within five years.”

It adds: “Following review of the US criteria for meaningful use, the NHS should create a set that is appropriate to the UK.”

The BCS fails to say how such widespread use would be achieved. It is planning to publish a full report, with almost100 recommendations on the consultation, later this month.

However, it does say that the NHS needs to build on the infrastructure of the National Programme for IT in the NHS, while taking “rapid steps” to reintroduce competition into the NHS supplier market.

Moving to ASCC in the South, which has recently been criticised by some suppliers as skewed towards existing lead suppliers to NPfIT, the BCS says the framework catalogue should be “enhanced” so that new vendors can be added.

It adds that vendors should be considered: “If they demonstrate a product meets the national minimum requirements for information governance, functionality, data standards and interoperability, or removed if they are subsequently seen to fall below those standards.”

The BCS has described its response to the consultation on a new information strategy for the NHs as one of the largest engagement exercises in its history.

It also places a heavy focus on standards, arguing that the rigorous enforcement of standards is “not an example of heavy handed government interference” but a “necessary condition” to allow a growing market of interoperable solutions.

It goes on to say that a “single overarching approvals and/or assurance body” directed by the health secretary should be set up to set stable standards and enable suppliers to rapidly innovate solutions for health and care.

Matthew Swindells, chair of BCS Health, said: “The government has outlined their overall plans for an information revolution and we agree that the approach to information will be crucial to the success or failure of the new policy direction of health and social care."

The Department of Health told eHealth Insider that it had received more than 700 responses to the ‘Liberating the NHS: an Information Revolution’ consultation.

A spokesman added: "We are now analysing the responses to determine how best to equip patients and service users with the relevant information they need to help them take control of their own health and care, and how best to support professionals in delivering the highest quality of care."