back to article Primary care trusts offered data analysis service

A new supplier framework could provide primary care trusts with data analysis services. The framework consists of 14 organisations appointed to offer support services to the NHS through a new agreement, known as the Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC). The framework, which was announced by the …

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Paying twice

There are already organisations WITHIN the NHS that can and do offer services like this at no cost to PCTs and Trusts. A lot of money has been wasted by allowing private companies to take NHS data and then charge the NHS for viewing them in a slightly different way. That's all these companies offer, and it must stop.

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Managers..

Anonymous as I work for the NHS in an analysis role.

It would seem that the scatter-gun approach is rearing its ugly head once more.

Our department has just completed an exercise to get rid of pointless reports and analysis.

The biggest problem is NHS Senior Managers insisting on telling you what data they want rather that what they actually want to achieve with the data. They then receive the data and decide that it doesn't show what they want so they ask for it to be 're-done' and then decide that it *still* doesn't tell them what they want.

Thus you end up with hundreds of reports all showing slightly different information.

</rant>

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An inside view

"There are already organisations WITHIN the NHS that can and do offer services like this at no cost to PCTs and Trusts".

There may be organisations that can and do offer services at 'no cost ' but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are free - it simply means the headcount costs are being absorbed somewhere else. It also potentially means that the resource somewhere else is under-utilised if the unused capacity exists in the first place.

I should declare an interest at this point as I *previously* worked with one of the organisations that has been selected for the new framework. My experience was that working with the PCTs was extremely rewarding - we were able to deliver sophisticated tools tailored to local needs that went far and above anything they had access to already. We listened very hard to the needs of PCT Information Management staff & Clinicians and worked with them to iteratively (and rapidly) develop the tools needed to inform a very detailed understanding of local health needs.

On the projects I worked on, the new capabilities helped the clients to successfully identify local patients at risk of future hospitalisations. The new information enabled local clinicians to intervene pro actively meaning that the patients received earlier and better care in the community and the avoidance of exposure to hospital acquired infections. The PCTs themselves avoided the cost of unplanned hospital admissions - those that chose to collaborate together to try and do a similar thing independently ultimately failed to deliver - potentially impacting patients and budgets.

The fact the company I worked for was external to the NHS meant we were highly accountable to our customers with clear SLAs, and not just providing a service as a favour. The new framework for information services means that more PCTs will now benefit from a wide choice of innovative organisations competing with each other. That should mean that the range and quality of services available to PCTs improves due to competition whilst also keeping costs manageable. It also enables Trusts to take a measured view of what service best meets their needs - internal or external with both having their merits.

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