The NHS Future Forum is to “support the development” of a new information strategy for the NHS, building on the ‘Information Revolution’ consultation that the Department of Health ran last year.
At the end of its formal response to the consultation, which was quietly slipped onto its website this morning, the DH says the NHS Future Forum is “considering how best” to inform the strategy, which was initially promised for this spring.
The NHS Future Forum was initially set up to conduct a ‘listening exercise’ into the government’s wider NHS reform proposals, after the Health and Social Care Bill came under fire from unions and ran into trouble in Parliament.
At the launch of its report, its chair, Professor Steve Field, expressed considerable interest in the use of information in the NHS, and told eHealth Insider that it was a topic the forum might have explored in more detail if it had time.
The DH officially announced this morning that the forum will carry out four further pieces of work: on information, education and training, integrated care, and the public’s health.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The work of the NHS Future Forum has been invaluable in helping to shape our plans for improving the health service.
“I’m delighted at the NHS Future Forum will continue its excellent work with patients, service users and professionals, ensuring that we work towards an improved healthcare system.”
The formal response to the Information Revolution consultation says the DH received 742 formal responses.
It lists the key themes as “ensuring that the Information Revolution benefits everyone and does not increase inequalities”; the need to generate more information to improve outcomes; and the need to link information across health and social care.
Another “emerging theme” is the need to give people access to information held in their own care records – which was a promise in the Cabinet Office’s consultation on public sector data transparency that was launched last week.
The need for a “single set of information standards” appears as the last major theme. The response indicates that this job is likely to fall to the NHS Commissioning Board for the NHS, while public health and social care standards are likely to be set by the Department of Health.
The Information Revolution consultation was launched by the DH’s former director general of informatics, Christine Connelly, who left the DH this summer. Her role is being filled on an interim basis by Katie Davis from the Cabinet Office.
There have been suggestions that an information strategy will be drawn up this “autumn.”
However, the response and the announcement about the NHS Future Forum’s latest round of work gives no indication of when it may be ready. It simply says the forum will report back to ministers later this year.
© 2011 EHealth Media.
Register: To add a comment you must be registered.