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NHS news in brief

Our weekly round-up of NHS and healthcare stories

NHS IT scheme attacked
Doctors are unhappy with the new £6.2bn NHS IT upgrade, according to the results of a BBC poll. The scheme aims to link up 30,000 GPs to around 300 hospitals through a radical overhaul of the health service IT network. However, only one in five doctors who had access to the computer system said it was good or fairly good. Half of respondents in the survey of 447 hospital doctors and 340 GPs, said the new ìchoose and book' online booking system was poor or fairly poor. The overwhelming majority (85 per cent) said there should be an independent review of the entire scheme by technical experts to check its basic viability.

Stop pressurising NICE, say doctors
Doctors writing in the British Medical Journal have come to the defence of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), saying it carries out ìinvaluableî work in assessing new drug treatments. The review of NICE guidance, by doctors at the University of Southampton and Birmingham's City Hospital, found that recommendations were fairly evenly distributed. It said NICE decided no for 19 per cent of recommendations, yes for 23 per cent, yes with major restrictions for 32 per cent and yes with minor restrictions for 28 per cent. The doctors said NICE had come under increasing pressure from campaigners, companies and politicians seeking to influence its decisions.

30th September 2008

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