EHealth insider has sent an open letter to health secretary Andrew Lansley, urging him to include a prominent role for chief clinical information officers in the forthcoming NHS information strategy.

The open letter, endorsed by seven of the royal medical colleges, advises the health secretary of the strong momentum that is building for the need to develop CCIOs as local clinical information champions across the NHS.

The EHI CCIO Campaign was launched last June, in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians and BCS – The Chartered Institute for IT.

Ten royal medical colleges have backed the campaign, while more than 50 suppliers and dozens of individuals have signed an online petition in support of it.

Six NHS trusts have appointed CCIOs and further appointments are expected over the coming months.

To take forward the objectives of the EHI CCIO Campaign, EHI is now working with campaign supporters and partners to establish a CCIO Leaders Network, to be delivered through a programme of events and an online professional network.

The CCIO Leaders Network will be officially launched on 8 March by health secretary Andrew Lansley at a launch event being run by EHI in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians.

The open letter, signed by EHI editor Jon Hoeksma, advises: “The CCIO role has quickly become well recognised within the NHS and synonymous with the ambition of developing a wide range of clinical information leaders.”

Dr Rhidian Bramley, the CCIO and director of clinical radiology at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust told EHI in an interview that he took on the title to support the campaign.

“I was keen to use the title to support the campaign because I believe local clinical leadership in IT can significantly improve patient care and services, and help audit outcomes,” he said.

The royal medical colleges that have so far backed the campaign are: The Royal College of Surgeons, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Radiologists and Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

The letter advises that the campaign’s supporters “recognise that improving the quality of information in the NHS – and making it available to clinicians, patients, commissioners and providers in a transparent and efficient manner – will be a critical tool in improving the quality of patient care.”

It also says that encouraging the development of CCIOs “would build on the recommendations made by the NHS Future Forum in January about the need to champion a cultural shift on the approach to information throughout the NHS…”

The Department of Health ran a consultation on an information strategy to support the ‘Liberating the NHS’ reforms towards the end of 2010. However, the information strategy that was supposed to follow the ‘Information Revolution’ consultation has never appeared.

The second report of the NHS Future Forum, which focused on information issues, said it would be published by April. The January report argued that the barriers in the way of an information revolution were more cultural than technological, and called for change to be “championed” at every level.


Open letter to health secretary Andrew Lansley

EHI CCIO Channel

CCIO Group on EHI Groups