Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Further letter from Dr James Henry Paton, Director of Clinical Informatics at Queens Hospital, Burton upon Trent[2]

  Access to the internet in clinical facilities has been steadily improving across the country with specific targets having been set nationally for staff access. In Queen's Hospital, for example, all staff have access to PCs in wards and offices, and have access to, amongst much else, antibiotic prescribing guidelines on our intranet and the internet.

  There is still some way to go, however, in terms of adequate PCs and satisfactory, reliable internet access in the NHS workplace. The ratio of doctors to PC's, for example, may still be too high in many facilities, and broadband access to the internet is needed for all healthcare facilities.

  While there is a vast amount of information available now on the World Wide Web, a significant need of healthcare staff is for easy access to structured, targeted information, eg in infection monitoring and management. The National Electronic Library for Health is a project of great vision for the NHS, and its National Electronic Library for Communicable Diseases sub-library has the potential to be a primary resource for clinical staff. The latter library has made an excellent start, but to realise its potential will require significant dedicated intellectual resources and, therefore, a budget that is likely to be considerably greater than at present.

3 April 2003

2   See oral evidence p 258. Back

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