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16 July 2001

NHS IT Revolution `bypasses` Health Visitors – New Survey

Seven out of ten health visitors and school nurses would "significantly" improve their service to clients if they had full access to the NHS information technology revolution, a survey disclosed today (Monday, 16 July).

Four out of five community practitioners who do have computer access at work have to share with, on average, seven other colleagues, according to the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association survey.

It also revealed that 66 per cent of community practitioners don’t have access to the internet and 65 per cent don’t have use of email. Three out of ten don’t have access to a computer in their workplace.

These findings will be a centrepiece of the CPHVA’s Make IT Happen campaign which is being launched at The Information Revolution in Primary Care conference in London today (Monday, 16 July).

The CPHVA’s case is that the government’s Ł1 billion drive to ensure that all NHS clinical and support staff should have desk top access to basic email, browsing and directory services by March 2002 is not being implemented at local level and community practitioners appear to be last on the list.

The CPHVA’s director, Jackie Carnell said: ‘These figures make depressing reading. We want the government’s bold plans for the NHS to be translated into an IT reality on the daily frontline of healthcare.’

‘We will be urging our members to lobby NHS employers across the UK to see that they have the necessary tools to do their job effectively in today’s modern workplace and that the information strategies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are implemented.’

‘Our members tell us that if they had the full range of IT equipment and proper training the most significant improvement in their performance would be that their clients would benefit because of faster access to new information.’

Other findings include:

  • of those that have a computer at work, 57 per cent don’t have access to the child health information system, 50 per cent can’t access the internet, 47 per cent can’t access the trust/employer information system and 45 per cent are unable to use the NHS Net

  • nearly four out of ten health visitors have never had training to use a computer and/or searching the internet. And of those who say they have had training, 13 per cent say they are self-taught.

* The survey was based on 322 CPHVA members responding to a questionnaire in the Community Practitioner journal.

The CPHVA is running the Make IT Happen campaign with the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association. Both organisations are professionally autonomous sections of the MSF trade union.

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NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS

Members of the media are warmly invited to attend The Information Revolution in Primary Care conference, which is being held at the Royal College of Physicians, Regents Park, London between 9.50am and 4.30pm and where Professor Dame June Clark, University of Wales will launch the campaign.

For further information, please contact:

Shaun Noble Communications Officer (020) 7939 7043

mobile 07768 69 39 40

CPHVA press releases can be seen on the CPHVA web site: www.msfcphva.org

The CPHVA is an autonomous professional section of the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union. The CPHVA represents 18,000 health visitors, school nurses, practice nurses and registered nurses working in the community in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

 


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