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New accreditation to help non-NHS IT contractors win NHS informatics contracts

IT contractors with no NHS or healthcare experience can support their applications for NHS IT contracts with professional skills development and accreditations from a new healthcare informatics partnership.

The UK Council for Health Informatics Professions (UKCHIP), NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) are joining forces to “drive up standards and professionalism amongst health informatics professionals”.

Specific healthcare IT qualifications and professional or chartered status is currently not compulsory for healthcare sector IT workers. This sets the IT profession apart from most other medical, healthcare and allied professions, where some form of certification and ongoing continued professional development (CPD) is compulsory.

“We have to be able to show we are professionals in the same way that other groups in health and care do,” explains NHS England director of strategy systems and technology Beverley Bryant. “And employers need to expect their informatics staff to be accredited or work towards accreditation with an appropriate body.”

UKCHIP is the voluntary regulatory body for health informatics professionals, and it was established to promote professionalism in health informatics. But the key word is ‘voluntary’, so there are no national professional checks and balances on the IT workers who routinely process critical patient data.

The new partnership is designed to address this issue by encouraging IT professionals to register with UKCHIP and start working towards professional healthcare sector accreditation.

UKCHIP President Dr Glyn Hayes explains: “Professional registration of information and IT specialists is at the heart of creating a safe environment for patients and tackling quality and value for money issues.”

Bryant agrees, adding: “A number of organisations offer appropriate registration opportunities, but UKCHIP is the only registration body for informatics in health, which is why we want to support its development.”

UKCHIP’s approach is being refreshed as part of a wider NHS England initiative to improve informatics leadership and capability development.

More information on the partnership and its implications is expected to be available for IT contractors who want to improve their healthcare informatics credentials later in the year. Details will be published on ContractorCalculator as they become available.

Published: 28 August 2013

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