To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his reply of 28 November, Official Report, columns 228-31, whom he is consulting about his strategy for information needs and use of information technology which he announced when he launched his document on 17 January.
The proposals for information needs and the use of information technology were summarised in working paper 11 "(Framework for Information Systems: Overview)" which was sent to all Members of Parliament for England. This document was supported by two consultative documents for IT and information, the latter including 13 stand-alone annexes. The working papers and annexes are available in the Library. Working paper 11 and the full set of documents were sent to the general managers of all regions, districts, family health services authorities and special health authorities, to all relevant professional associations and trade unions, academic and research institutions, suppliers of IT and consultancy services as well as to other charitable and dent group-based organisations. In addition, sets were sent to NHS staff who had contributed to the working groups making the proposals. During the consultation process, requests have been made for further complete sets of documents or for individual annexes. There have been in all approximately 4,000 copies of the main text of both the information and IT consultative documents and 3,100 of each annex distributed for consultation.
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his reply of 28 November, Official Report, columns 228-31, whether, once the National Health Service computer network is capable of linking family practitioner committees and individual practitioners, he plans to extend it to link them with district health authorities.
The National Health Service communications network has been designed to cater for the wide area networking needs of all bodies in the NHS. Organisations such as regional and district health authorities will be encouraged to link to the network, so long as it is competitive on cost and service.