The UK Council for Health Informatics Professions, NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre are working together to drive up standards and professionalism amongst health informatics staff.

They hope to do this by encouraging registration with the profession’s voluntary regulatory body, UKCHIP.

A statement from the organisations involved says work is starting on a plan to refresh UKCHIP as part of a wider NHS England approach to driving up informatics leadership and capability development.

The group hopes to announce further details of its plans at EHI Live on 5-6 November this year.

NHS England’s director of strategic systems and technology Beverley Bryant said the importance of informatics to the delivery of safe, high quality and effective services has never been more important.

“Professionalism in informatics and all that goes with it is at the heart of our vision for safe, technology enabled, and patient centred care,” she explained.

“Both the Francis Report and more recently the Keogh Review identified a range of informatics and leadership related issues that indicate a need for stronger leadership and more and better data and information management specialists.”

She said NHS England will support the development of UKCHIP to, “reflect the needs and expectations of the new NHS and NHS employers”.

“We have to be able to show we are professionals in the same way that other groups in health and care do.”

Bryant believes that employers need to expect their informatics staff to be accredited or work towards accreditation with an appropriate body.

“A number of organisations offer appropriate registration opportunities but, UKCHIP is the only registration body for informatics in health, which is why we want to support its development,” she added.

Dr Mark Davies, director of clinical and public assurance at the HSCIC, said the information centre is the largest employer of health informatics specialists in the NHS in England.

“We feel it is our duty to lead the development of the health informatics profession, to support our staff and informatics specialists across the NHS.

“High quality data, information and systems are essential to drive better care, better services and better outcomes for patients. All these can only be achieved if we develop, assure and value, skilled health informatics professionals.”

UKCHIP president Dr Glyn Hayes said UKCHIP was launched 10 years ago and the world of informatics has moved on significantly.

This means the “time is right” to review its professional standards and brand.

Registration and certification with UKCHIP is open to anyone working in health informatics, including the NHS, the private health care sector or for commercial suppliers to the health care sector.