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Child Health

Volume 957: debated on Thursday 9 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why he has decided to introduce automatic data processing for the standard child health system; and if he will publish in the Official Report a detailed paper explaining the benefits of such a system.

Computerisation of child health records is not new. The NHS is developing a standard child health system for use in a field where computerisation has already existed for a long time. Before NHS reorganisation in 1974, local government authorities were responsible for the particular child health services concerned, and some local authorities held the records on computers. These systems have operated for some years. Unfortunately, these particular computer systems cannot easily be transferred to computers used in the NHS and some rationalisation additional work will be entitled to allowances of up to 15 per cent. from the savings achieved. Savings will be secured by more efficient use of labour, overtime reductions, higher standards of maintenance and hence greater efficiency in running plant such as boiler houses. Payment of the allowances is dependent upon the schemes achieving and maintaining their financial viability.